Find help to deal with legal problems that affect young people.

Fast Facts:

  • When you are younger than 18, your right to confidentiality in your medical care and mental health care depends on the state where you live.
  • You may need legal help with many issues, including school suspension hearings, immigration, and problems with the criminal justice system.
  • Your rights and responsibilities change when you are 18 years old.

Your Legal Rights

Your legal rights at age 18 are very similar to those of an adult in most states.  When you are younger than 18, there are specific instances when you have the right to confidentiality in your medical care and mental health care.   However, your legal rights depend on the state where you live. See the resources below for more information.

There are many legal problems that may affect young people, such as:

  • Problems with the criminal justice system
  • Employment discrimination, employment licensing
  • School suspension hearings
  • Getting legal name changes
  • Obtaining government-issued identification
  • Immigration
  • Housing eviction and repairs
  • Understanding criminal records
  • Family Court issues

If you are under age 18, you may be treated as an adult if you find yourself having some of these legal problems. Patients at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center have access to free legal services at the Center.  Our legal advocates provide free advice on a wide variety of legal problems. They may be able to represent you on a case at no charge, and can make referrals to other organizations as needed.

If you need legal advice and can’t afford a lawyer, many states have free legal aid.  Legal Services Corporation offices in every Congressional district help low income people find legal aid.

There are also free legal clinics focused on young people, such as Center for Children’s Advocacy for teens in Connecticut, Legal Services for Children in San Francisco, and The Door’s legal and immigration services in New York.


From the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):

This information is not intended to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services, only general information for education purposes only.