Protect parental rights and religious freedom in the counseling of children
We need to leave alone the rigths of parents, who are closest to their child’s challenges to be able to serve their children the way the believe they should be served. Parents are in the best position to identify solutions and to make healthcare decisions involving the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of their child. Additionally, under Virginia law, parents have the fundamental right to make decisions regarding the upbringing, education and care of their children.
Young people may have attractions they desire to change or moderate and 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 and a ban would deny families the religious freedom to seek counseling aligned with their faith.
Lastly, because the proposed definition and ban would 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, which is a core principle of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.
Please uphold the rights of parents and children to seek services they are looking to recieve. Thank you.