97 Kids and the Law SUBSTANCE USE TREATMENT Substance use treatment is available through community-based agencies. When a child is involved with the court or diverted from court involvement, the child may be required to participate in substance use treatment. It may be part of mental health counseling or it may be specialized substance use treatment. Sometimes the child’s substance use rises to such a high level of concern that parents, guardians, or health care providers think the child needs residential care. How do placements in residential facilities that treat substance use occur? As with mental health hospitalizations, placement in residential facilities that treat substance use can occur on a voluntary basis (the parent is willing) or involuntary basis (the parent is not willing). What does voluntary placement mean? It means that a child needs to be in a substance use treatment facility and the parent is willing to allow the child to go. A parent or guardian can apply on be- half of a child who is not yet 18. Children who are 16 years or older, can apply on their own. The parent or guardian can sign the necessary papers which give the substance use treatment facility the right to treat the child. What happens if the child shows a high level of risk due to substance use but refuses treatment? A parent, guardian, other blood relative, physician, court official, or police of- ficer can come to court to seek help by filing an affidavit (a written statement) in the Clerk’s office that describes the child’s substance use and explains the need for treatment. How does the court respond? Upon review of the affidavit, the judge can order an emergency substance use evaluation by a qualified physician, a qualified psychologist or a qualified so- cial worker to determine whether the child is at such risk of substantial harm that commitment to a facility for substance use treatment is necessary to pro- tect the child. Mental Health and Substance Use Issues 8