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Family initiated treatment (FIT)
Washington State adolescent behavioral health system of care is guided by three core values:
- Family and youth driven framework
- Culturally based services
- Services that address diversity and health disparities
Adolescents who need services have the right to get those services in the least restrictive setting for their need.
Eligibility requirement: Adolescents aged 13-17.
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Who is eligible? Adolescents aged 13-17 years old.
According to RCW 71.34.500 – 530, adolescents may request an evaluation for outpatient or inpatient mental health or substance use disorder treatment without parental consent.
If it is determined that they meet the medical necessity for the level of treatment requested, the adolescent may be offered and allowed to consent for their own services.
For a minor under the age of 13, either parental consent or consent from an approved guardian is required for services.
Any adolescent seeking services under AIT may choose to end or leave services on their own at any time.
Under FIT parents are able to consent on behalf of adolescents who meet medical necessity. Consent of the adolescent is not required. The FIT process creates an additional access point but does not guarantee care on demand for adolescents admitted through FIT. Providers will have individual processes and requirements for evaluation and admission to services.
FIT outpatient services can last up to 3 months and include up to 12 visits, after which services may only be continued with the adolescent’s consent.
For more information, see the FIT parent information sheet .
FIT inpatient treatment may last up to 30 days. At 30 days the adolescent must be discharged, unless the adolescent voluntarily agrees to further treatment or a designated crisis responder (DCR) initiates involuntary commitment proceedings.
Adolescents admitted to inpatient facilities under FIT must be released immediately upon the written request of the parent.
For more information, see the FIT parent information sheet.
Washington State law about what information mental health professionals can share has changed. Mental health providers are now allowed to communicate some adolescents’ (age 13-17) treatment information to parents, if the provider believes that sharing this information would benefit the treatment process. This includes sharing information through Family Initiated Treatment (FIT).
For more information see the mental health service disclosure guide.
FIT was developed, based in part on recommendations made by the Parent Initiated Treatment (PIT) Stakeholder Advisory Group that included youth, parents, clinicians, hospitals/emergency departments, and child system advocates. PIT for acute inpatient evaluation and treatment is long standing and has evolved into FIT, which provides an avenue for outpatient evaluation and treatment as well as additional guidelines associated with the FIT legislation. The stakeholder group's findings and recommendations were delivered to the Children's Mental Health Work Group on December 1, 2019, the legislature enacted Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1874.
Page last updated: March 27, 2020