Boys and Girls Clubs Keystone Law
In 2016, the legislature passed and Governor Christie signed into law the Boys and
Girls Clubs Keystone Law, which empowers youth 16 and older to consent to
certain behavioral health treatment services on their own, without separate
authorization from a parent or legal guardian. A copy of the law is available on the
New Jersey Legislature’s Website. What follows are frequently asked questions
about the law.
What services does this law allow minors to consent to?
The law allows minors to consent to temporary, outpatient, behavioral-health-care
services for the treatment of mental illness or emotional disorders. The rule does not
apply to the administration or use of medications. Services may be received from a
physician licensed to practice medicine, an advanced practice nurse, or an individual
licensed to provide professional counseling under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes,
including, but not limited to, a psychiatrist, licensed practicing psychologist,
certified social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed social worker,
licensed marriage and family therapist, certified psychoanalyst, or licensed
psychologist, or in an outpatient health care facility licensed pursuant to N.J.S.A.
26:2H-1 et seq.
Does this pertain to all minors?
No. The law only permits 16 and 17 year olds to consent to these services.
Will the treatment be confidential?
If treatment is provided based on the consent of the minor, it must be treated as
confidential to the same degree it would be for any adult. That means, importantly,
that information usually cannot be disclosed without the minor’s consent to his or
her parents or guardians.
If a provider is uncomfortable providing services without parental consent, can
he or she require it?
Yes. If the provider believes that parental involvement or consent is necessary, he or
she can require it.
Does this mean an adolescent can refuse treatment?
No. If the treatment provider and the minor’s parents believe that treatment is
necessary, the law does not allow a minor to overrule that determination.
DUTY TO WARN LAW P.L.1991, CHAPTER 270, approved August 27, 1991
Senate Committee Substitute (First Reprint) for
1990 Senate No. 3063
An Act providing immunity from certain civil suits to licensed practitioners of psychology, psychiatry,
medicine, nursing, clinical social work or marriage counseling and supplementing chapter 53A of Title 2A
of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1.a. Any person who is licensed in the State of New Jersey to practice psychology, psychiatry, medicine,
nursing, clinical social work or marriage counseling, whether or not compensation is received or expected,
is immune from any civil liability for a patient’s violent act against another person or against himself unless
the practitioner has incurred a duty to warn and protect the potential victim as set forth in subsection b. of
this section and fails to discharge that duty as set forth in subsection c. of this section.
b. A duty to warn and protect is incurred when the following conditions exist:
(1) The patient has communicated to that practitioner a threat of imminent, serious physical violence
against a readily identifiable individual or against himself and the circumstances are such that a reasonable
professional in the practitioner’s area of expertise would believe the patient intended to carry out the threat;
(2) The circumstances are such that a reasonable professional in the practitioner’s area of expertise would
believe the patient intended to carry out an act of imminent, serious physical violence against a readily
identifiable individual or against himself.
c. A licensed practitioner of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing clinical social work or marriage
counseling shall discharge the duty to warn and protect as set forth in subsection b. of this section by doing
any one or more of the following:
(1) Arranging for the patient to be admitted voluntarily to a psychiatric unit of a general hospital, a short-
term care facility, a special psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric facility, under the provisions of P.L.1987,
c.116 (C.30:4-27.1 et seq.);
(2) Initiating procedures for involuntary commitment of the patient to a short-term care facility, a special
psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric facility, under the provisions of P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.1 et seq.);
(3) Advising a local law enforcement authority of the patient’s threat and the identity of the intended
(4) Warning the intended victim of the threat, or, in the case of an intended victim who is under the age of
18, warning the parent or guardian of the intended victim; or
(5) If the patient is under the age of 18 and threatens to commit suicide or bodily injury upon himself,
warning the parent or guardian of the patient.
d. A practitioner who is licensed in the State of New Jersey to practice psychology, psychiatry, medicine,
nursing, clinical social work or marriage counseling who, in complying with subsection c. of this section,
discloses a privileged communication, is immune from civil liability in regard to that disclosure.
2. When a duty to warn and protect arises from the receipt of a privileged communication from a patient in
a drug or alcohol abuse program governed by federal law, a licensed practitioner of psychology, psychiatry,
medicine, nursing, clinical social work or marriage counseling may be required to obtain a court order
authorizing disclosure prior to disclosure of information about the patient including the patient’s threat of
violence, in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 290dd-3 and 42 U.S.C. 290ee-3 and regulations promulgated
[2.]3. This act shall take effect immediately.
Provides civil immunity to licensed practitioners of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, clinical social work or
marriage counseling under certain circumstances.
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