The American Psychological Association has ruled that states must allow parents of children who experience “serious” emotional distress to opt-out of psychologists’ annual compensation.
In a ruling issued on Wednesday, the APA Board of Directors said the states are allowed to opt in to compensating child psychologists, who help parents manage their emotions, if they also allow parents and children to opt into their compensation plans.
The APA board voted 8-1 to allow parents who experience emotional distress, as well as parents who have had a child with a disability, to opt, which was the second time in a year that the board has voted to allow states to allow such a process.
The decision will apply to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Hawaii.
In the past, states have opted out of compensation plans if they have had to make changes to their insurance plans, including providing the option to opt for the compensation plans of certain employers or hospitals.
States that have taken this approach include New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.
States have until May 19 to respond to the ruling.
The American Psychological Associations decision is the second in as many months to allow opt-outs for parents who suffer from severe emotional distress.
In December, the board said states can allow parents with serious emotional distress and children with disabilities to optouts, although it was unclear whether that change would apply to states where the majority of children are disabled.
States are still allowed to allow them to opt their children out if they want, although the APAs board is considering expanding its decision to include children and other adults with severe emotional or developmental disorders.
States also are allowed the option of not providing compensation to child psychologists unless there is an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the child, the American Psychological Assn.
said in a statement.
States should be allowed to choose to opt children out of mental health compensation, APA President Susan E. Pao said in the statement.
Pao, who previously served as a child psychologist, said in January that she had personally seen some families who have suffered devastating emotional and developmental trauma due to their child’s disabilities and the state has no obligation to provide mental health services.
In July, the Association of American Medical Colleges voted in favor of allowing states to opt child psychologists out of their compensation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.