Who is Responsible for Payment for Court Ordered Therapy DSS or the Child’s Legal Guardians? What Can I do to Receive Payment?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“I am a psychotherapist with a private practice. I recently started treating a minor who is presently in the custody of the Dept. of Social Services (DSS). The therapy was “court-ordered” and the supervising case worker in charge was given my name by a colleague. DSS hired me to work with the minor. They informed me that I would be paid partly by the biological parents’ insurance and the remainder by the parents. However, DSS did sign a general contract I use in my practice, which does stipulate responsibility of payment. The biological parents’ lawyer advised the parents not to agree to payment, as the therapy was court ordered and DSS was the legal guardian. I discussed this with DSS, who agreed that they (DSS) would have to be responsible for my bill. Two months have passed and DSS is now telling me that they cannot pay me. I have already contacted the parents’ lawyer to obtain a copy of the court order. What are my options and how do you recommend I proceed?”

Question: If you do not get recourse from DSS, take it back to the judge that made the order. Get everyone in the court room together, and he will make orders, enforceable in contempt. This will give you more options for collection. Otherwise, your recourse might be in small claims.