Parents need to make healthcare decisions involving their children.
I oppose the ban on Reparative therapy proposed by the Board of Social Work. Anyone should be able to choose a therapy program based on what is best for them. In particular, parents, children and young adults need to have choices that reflect the full range of counselling options that are available today.
Banning Reparative Therapy would severely limit those choices 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).
For these reasons and because I believe that a policy change of this scope is best decided in the General Assembly, where full discussion can take place, I urge that this proposal be rejected.