Protect the freedom of Virginia families to acquire the counseling they choose
Families - who know their loved ones best - should be free to pursue therapy to help those in need, including reparative therapy. Why? Because:
- Parents are closest to their child’s challenges and they are in the best position to identify solutions and to make healthcare decisions involving the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of their child.
- Under Virginia law, parents have the fundamental right to make decisions regarding the upbringing, education and care of their children.
- Some young people may have attractions they desire to change or moderate. Others may simply desire guidance from a social worker to live a chaste life. In either instance, there should be options for families to make informed decisions.
- A ban would deny families the religious freedom to seek counseling aligned with their faith.
- Because the proposed definition and ban cover all communication between a social worker and the client, there is a serious risk that children and families will lose the right to client “self-determination” in setting care goals (a core principle of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics).
This backdoor attempt to regulate away Virginians' rights to receive the therapy they desire shows a lack of respect for families, religious belief, and individual freedom.