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Legal Status of Minors in Counselling

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You are a counselor at a high school. Discuss the legal status of minors and the implications of this status on the counseling relationship. Also address the concepts of confidentiality and informed consent in your response.

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Legal Status of Minors

School counselling is a specialized form of counselling in that it involves dealing with the legal and social considerations of counselling, assisting, guiding and looking after the welfare of minors. When we say Minor, we refer to person under a certain age known as the age of majority which is seen as the line that draws adulthood from childhood. Those under it are minors, those on or above it are considered to be adults and thus are attributed certain legal capabilities in society which were not available during minor age (i.e. the right to suffrage). Across the US the age of consent and criminal responsibility vary but universally, at least it is assumed that the age of 18 is the age of criminal and legal responsibility. Still in certain concerns (i.e. gambling & alcohol consumption) and in certain states, ...

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the solution is a concise 580-word narrative that discusses the legal status of minors in counselling and the implications of this status in the counselling process/dynamics. references are listed for further studies. A word version is attached for easy printing.

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Ethical Issues and Vulnerable Populations

Mental health counselors often work with children and adolescents; people who have cognitive, emotional, and/or physical disabilities; and people in prison or on probation. It is important to keep in mind the issues of informed consent and assent for treatment with all clients, but especially those clients from vulnerable populations. Other ethical issues that may require special attention when working with vulnerable populations relate to confidentiality (e.g., exclusions to confidentiality), parameters to disclosure (e.g., HIPAA and working with minors in school and non-school settings), and the legal status of relationships within a family (e.g., legal dependents, legal guardianship, marriage, and custodial/non-custodial parent).The ethical issues related to working with minor clients can also apply when working with adults who may be legally defined as having diminished capacity. In addition, many states now have statutes that guide mandated reporting for suspected abuse or neglect of vulnerable persons.

Provide a brief description of two vulnerable populations, including details on why these groups are considered vulnerable. Then, evaluate the related ethical issues and challenges, citing the relevant ethical codes. Finally, discuss the steps you would take if a client's legal status changed during the course of treatment.

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