Inaccessibility of health care for teenagers
Traditionally, parents are responsible for their children's health care, and minors are unable to give legal consent to medical services. For increasing numbers of teenagers, parental responsibility does not ensure that such care will be provided. This group includes adolescents who are living independently, those who are sexually or physically victimized at home, and others who are alienated from their parents. These young people need emergency treatment, family planning, drug and alcohol abuse treatment, abortion, pregnancy care services, and prevention assistance and treatment for communicable diseases. In connection with each of these medical services, counselling and confidential mental health services are often necessary. For many young people, parental consent to such services is impossible to obtain, and notification of parents deters many teenagers from seeking care at all.