SB 6492 prohibits statements, admissions, or confessions made by a juvenile in the course of a mental health or chemical dependency screening or assessment from being admitted into evidence against the juvenile on the issue of guilt in a juvenile offense matter or adult criminal proceeding, unless the juvenile has placed his or her mental health at issue. However, the statement is admissible for any other purpose or proceeding allowed by law. This prohibition does not apply to statements, admissions, or confessions made to law enforcement, and may not be used to argue for derivative suppression of other evidence lawfully obtained as a result of an otherwise inadmissible statement, admission, or confession.
In the context of this bill, “assessment” means an individualized examination of a child to determine the child’s psychosocial needs and problems, including the type and extent of any mental health, substance abuse, or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders, and recommendations for treatment. “Assessment” includes, but is not limited to, drug and alcohol, psychological and psychiatric evaluations, records review, clinical interview, and administration of a formal test or instrument. The bill also clarifies that “screening” refers to a process that is designed to identify a child who is at risk of having mental health, substance abuse, or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders that warrant immediate attention, intervention, or more comprehensive assessment. A screening may be undertaken with or without the administration of a formal instrument.