CARE Court is a new program to engage, assist, and empower individuals suffering from untreated schizophrenia and severe mental illness.
By News Desk
Los Angeles County, this past week, moved to accelerate its implementation of CARE Court, the state’s new framework to deliver mental health and substance use disorder services to Californians suffering from severe mental health disorders. The County is working to implement the CARE Act by December 1, 2023, one year ahead of schedule.
Los Angeles County will join the original seven counties committed to implementing CARE Court in 2023: the counties of Glenn, San Diego, San Francisco, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Orange and Riverside.
“CARE Court brings real progress and accountability at all levels to fix the broken system that is failing too many Californians in crisis,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “I commend Los Angeles County leaders, the courts, and all the local government partners and stakeholders across the state who are taking urgent action to make this lifesaving initiative a reality for thousands of struggling Californians.”
The announcement comes just days after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to declare a local emergency for homelessness, clearing the way for an expedited and regional response to the crisis. “We are in a homelessness emergency and we know that many who are living on our streets are struggling with severe mental illness. Governor Newsom’s Care Court model has been a missing piece in our effort to bring people inside,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
“Across Los Angeles County, we have seen the effects of our mental health crisis spilling out onto our streets. Too many residents with severe mental health issues lack adequate treatment and often find themselves in a devastating cycle between our emergency departments, our jails, and falling into homelessness,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. First District. Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger added, “We need a coordinated and consistent approach to help these individuals, and CARE Court is poised to help us meet that mission. Severe mental illness doesn’t resolve itself.”
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass added, “We will lock arms with Los Angeles County, building CARE Courts and expanding mental health and substance abuse programs to help Angelenos get well while respecting all civil liberties.”
“The Superior Court of Los Angeles County is eager to collaborate with our state and county partners to expedite the launch of CARE Court to address the mental health crisis in Los Angeles County,” said Presiding Judge Samantha P. Jessner. “Our Court has a long history of establishing innovative programs that help those experiencing mental health issues, substance use disorders and other challenges. We are pleased to join the first cohort of CARE courts to help launch this new program in Los Angeles County in the coming months and years.”
What is the CARE Court?
CARE Court is a first-in-the-nation framework to engage, assist, and empower individuals suffering from untreated schizophrenia and severe mental illness, and other psychotic disorders.
The Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act, authored by Senator Thomas Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), received bipartisan and near-unanimous approval in both the California Senate and Assembly.
CARE Court will be implemented statewide in a phased approach. Last November, Governor Newsom convened representatives from the first cohort – comprised of the counties of Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Stanislaus and Tuolumne, as well as the City and County of San Francisco – to discuss their planning efforts and share feedback and best practices on implementation with the state.
CalHHS is establishing a CARE Act Working Group as part of ongoing engagement with impacted families, behavioral health providers, disability rights organizations, housing and homelessness advocates, racial equity experts, and others.
The housing and services for CARE Court clients is supported by unprecedented funding under the state’s $15.3 billion investment in addressing homelessness, including $1.5 billion for behavioral bridge housing; more than $11 billion annually for mental health programs throughout California; and more than $1.4 billion for our health and human services workforce.
In Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health will oversee and coordinate the implementation of CARE Court.
> For further information: see the Fact Sheet: CARE Court.\
Edited and simplified by Ann Hunnewell
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