Center strike off child psychiatric help bill, new version on table

Reform and Center coalition negotiations in progress
Reform and Center coalition negotiations in progress Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Center has withdrawn a bill which would have removed the requirement for a minor to obtain parental permission before getting psychiatric help, in cases where the parent or guardian had committed a crime against the child, replacing it with one which would remove the requirement for general mental health issues.

The bill is the latest of several which the party has struck off following the collapse of the Center/EKRE/Isamaa coalition last week. A controversial bill to hold a referendum on the definition of marriage, and a law which would have effectively nationalized the body dealing with monitoring political party finances have also been removed so far.

Center is involved in coalition talks with the Reform Party ahead of forming a new, bi-partite government, which Isamaa and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) will be left out of.

The proposed bill met with controversy from both youth psychiatrists working in the field, and Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, who said it would not have alleviated any issues for young people and may even have created more problems.

EKRE also opposed the bill, which had kept it held up in the Riigikogu for over a year.

Reform, Center leaders: Bill could be one of first acts of new coalition

Nonetheless, Reform leader Kaja Kallas says, a new piece of legislation will remove the parental consent requirement.

Kallas said: "First of all, I need to obtain the prime minister's mandate (Kallas has been invited to form the new government by the head of state, but a coalition deal must be struck – ed.) so that the government can take action, and this [bill] could be even the first decision we make to move it forward quickly. I don't know what the deadline might be, but I expect it to progress in the normal way."

Under current law, those aged 16 and under must get parental consent before obtaining psychiatric help in the case of depression, eating disorders and other mental health issues.

Mailis Reps, leading Center's negotiating team and a former education minister, said the bill could get passed as early as February.

The two parties continue their coalition talks Wednesday, with regional policy, rural affairs, population matters and farming reportedly on the agenda.

Once a deal has been struck and ministerial appointments allocated, voting will take place at the Riigikogu. If the line-up passes this vote, President Kersti Kaljulaid is likely to promulgate the new government within days.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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