Quick Course

Voices of Consent:
Who Gives the Go-Ahead?

Quick Quiz

Does a health-care provider in Texas need the consent of a parent or conservator to treat a minor to preserve life and limb?

Texas law governs when parents (married or divorced), non-parent caregivers, and adolescents can consent to medical and dental care.

  • Parents

    • Parents have the right to consent to medical and dental care for their minor child.
    • The rights of divorced parents may be affected by their child custody arrangement.
  • Non-parents

    • Adult relatives of a minor may have the right to consent for a minor’s health care in specific situations.
    • Schools, courts, and other entities may also be able to consent for health care in certain cases.
  • Adolescents who can consent

    • On active military duty.
    • 16 years or older and living on his or her own and managing own finances.
    • Unmarried, pregnant, and in need of prenatal care.
    • Unmarried and custodial parent of a child and consents for him or her.
    • For diagnosis and treatment of an infectious, contagious disease, including STDs that must be reported to DSHS.
    • For chemical addiction, suicide prevention, or sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.
  • Immunization Situation

    • A parent must consent to immunizations of a minor.
    • A minor parent can consent to immunizations for his or her own child.
    • A minor who is pregnant or has actual custody of a child may consent to his or her own immunization when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the initial doze of a vaccine be given before 7 years of age. The intent of this provision is to protect unvaccinated minor parents and their children from childhood diseases.

News You Can Use

This course provides a quick and helpful overview of legal requirements and best practices. Consult the Adolescent Health Guide from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for information about specific situations and legal references.