How does a minor-child shield his or her secrets, told to a psychotherapist, during a dependency and neglect proceeding? Normally, parents “hold” the child’s psychotherapist-patient privilege, and the right to waive that privilege on behalf of their children. But in a termination proceeding, parents have a conflict of interest. Three others could hold the child’s privilege: the department of human services, the juvenile court, or the guardian ad litem (GAL). The Court’s answer, under CRS sections 13-90-107 and 19-3-311, is the GAL. If waived, the court determines the scope, balancing various factors, seven of which were identified by the Court. The process for a GAL to withhold information is familiar: the GAL serves a privilege log, and then, if necessary, the court conducts an in camera review. The Court remanded this case for a determination of the scope of a GAL’s waiver.
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January 22, 2013 · 2:04 pm