Table 2

Involuntary Commitment of Minor Children

CommunityInpatient Facility
  • Treating mental health professional evaluates minor and determines the minor:

    • Has a mental disorder

    • Requires immediate inpatient treatment

    • Does not consent to treatment

  • Minor is held up to 12 hours to allow evaluation by a designated crisis responder to commit the minor involuntarily to an inpatient facility.

  • Minor is evaluated within 24 hours of admission to facilitya and is advised of rights within 12 hours of commitment.b

  • Inpatient provider pursues involuntary commitment for a minor initially admitted under voluntary or family-initiated treatment:

    • Treating provider writes petition for commitment and contactsCCORS.c

    • CCORS representative evaluates patient and writes petitionforcommitment.

    • Treating provider contacts designated crisis responder to evaluatefor involuntary commitment.

    • Designated crisis responder has until 5 p.m. of 2nd judicial daytoevaluate patient for involuntary commitment.

    • Minor advised of rights within 24 hours of commitment.

14-Day Commitment
  • If further inpatient treatment is believed to be necessary, facility may petition for a 14-day commitment hearing to be held within 72 judicial hours of initial commitment.

  • At a 14-day commitment hearing, evidence in support of petition is presented by the county prosecutor.

  • The minor has a right to representation by an attorney, may present evidence, may question or cross-examine witnesses, and may waive presence at hearing.

  • Guardians may oppose the petition and may be represented by an attorney (court-appointed if indigent).

  • For a 14-day commitment, burden of proof is on petitioners to demonstrate the minor:

    • Has a mental disorder and as a result presents a “likelihood of serious harm” or is “gravely disabled”

    • Requires the treatment provided by the petitioning inpatient facility or a less restrictive alternative treatment found to be in the best interests of the minor

    • Is unwilling or unable in good faith to consent to voluntary treatment

  • Judge rules on the outcome of the hearing and advises minor of rights in closing remarks.d

180-Day Commitment
  • If further treatment beyond the 14-day commitment is believed to be necessary, a petition for a 180-day commitment hearinge must be filed by the facility at least three days prior to the expiration of the 14-day order.

  • For a 180-day commitment, the court must find that the minor:

    • Has a mental disorder and as a result presents a “likelihood of serious harm” or is “gravely disabled”

    • Needs further treatment that only can be provided in a 180-day commitmentf

    • Less-restrictive treatment in the community is not appropriate or availableg,h

  • From Washington State Legislature Chapter 71.34 RCW: Behavioral Health Services for Minors, 2020.

  • a Minor's guardians are notified of detention and admission.

  • b Minors retain the same rights as adults (i.e., attorney representation, communication/visitation).

  • c Children's Crisis Outreach Response System.

  • d Once placed on a 14-day commitment, the minor preemptively loses the right to possess firearms at age 18.

  • e Minor and guardian rights during the 180-day hearing and the 14-day hearing are the same.

  • f Successive 180-day commitments are allowed (petition must be filed five days prior to expiration of previous 180-day commitment).

  • g Minor may be conditionally released under “least restrictive option” and subject to reasonable conditions, including outpatient treatment upon release; conditional release may be revoked if the minor fails to adhere to the conditions.

  • h A minor on a 180-day commitment automatically becomes eligible for admission to the state-funded Children's Long-Term Inpatient Program.