CARE Courts 

The Governor’s proposal continues to be the subject of much discussion in Sacramento and around the State. Yesterday, the Governor went to Fresno (where this picture was taken) with Dr. Ghaly and other members of his senior staff to discuss the proposal.

The counties continue to have concerns about the Governor’s proposal. The counties concerns include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The State is blaming counties for not reducing the Incompetent to Stand Trial (IST) population and that is at least part of what is driving the Administration’s new proposal;
  • The courts may have to utilize psychiatrists who don’t typically work in the public health system, and this might lead to court-ordered plans that would not otherwise be ordered;
  • Limitations around Medi-Cal (courts may order services for which individuals don’t qualify) and private insurances; 
  • Success could be limited without meaningful changes to involuntary treatment laws; 
  • The continued threat of sanctions could exist even without sufficient funding.

CalHHS Stakeholder Call

Monday, the California Health & Human Services Agency held a webinar briefing on the Governor’s proposed CARE Court framework. You may view SYASL staff notes and the slide deck below. 

CalHHS Stakeholder – March 14 Webinar Slide Deck
SYASL Staff Notes

Senators Umberg and Eggman Introduce CARE Court Bill

Wednesday, Senators Umberg and Eggman introduced SB 1338, which would establish the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court Program to connect a person struggling with untreated mental illness and substance use disorders with a court-ordered CARE plan. The bill would authorize a court to order an adult person who is suffering from a mental illness and a substance use disorder and who lacks medical decisionmaking capacity to obtain treatment and services under a CARE plan that is managed by a CARE team, as specified. 

Couple of things about this new bill uncovered by SYASL: 1) while this bill was not requested by the Governor, the Governor and his staff are aware of it and encouraging the authors to move it through committees, and 2) it is worth noting that Senator Umberg chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Many of you will recall that the judiciary committees in the Senate and Assembly have been the major hurdles historically for proposed conservatorship / LPS reforms.

Administration Reaches Out to CSAP and SYASL

Last night, Stephanie Welch, the Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health in the California Health and Human Services Agency, met with the CSAP GA Committee for nearly an hour. GA Committee members raised a host of issues and expressed their gratitude to Ms. Welch for making herself available especially during such a hectic week for the Administration. Ms. Welch asked for CSAP’s continued feedback and ideas on the CARE Court proposal. The GA Committee will meet with administration staff again in April. Similarly, SYASL was contacted by the Governor’s personal staff about wanting input from CSAP member psychiatrists. 

CARE Court Resources

CARE Court Website
Framework document
Behavioural Health – Improving California’s Infrastructure
Urban Counties of California – CARE Court Issues & Questions

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