Governor Newsom launches new plan to help Californians struggling with mental health issues and homelessness

CARE (Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment) Court is a new policy framework to help people living with untreated mental health and addictions issues

Enables Californians in crisis to access housing, treatment and care Liability for individuals and local governments with court orders for services

SAN JOSE – At a mental health treatment center in San Jose, Governor Gavin Newsom today unveiled CARE Court, a new framework to provide people with mental health and addictions issues the care and services they need. they need to regain their health. The proposal, which must be approved by the legislature, would require counties to provide comprehensive treatment to the most severely ill and untreated Californians and hold patients accountable for their treatment plan. “CARE Court is about meeting people where they are and acting with compassion to support the thousands of Californians living on our streets with serious mental health and addiction challenges,” Governor Newsom said. “We are taking action to break the pattern that leaves people hopeless and repeatedly experiences homelessness and incarceration. This is a new approach to stabilizing people with the most difficult to treat behavioral health issues. CARE Court does not wait until someone is hospitalized or arrested before providing treatment. CARE Court will allow a range of people, including family members, first responders, response teams and mental health service providers, among others, to refer people suffering from a list of specific ailments , many of whom are unhoused, and to bring them into community services. “It’s time we faced the painful but obvious truth: our behavioral health system in California is broken. We see it every day on our streets – and it’s high time to fix it,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “Governor Newsom’s CARE Court proposal is a big step forward. It will provide people with behavioral health issues a pathway to the housing and health services they need and give those who encounter these people a real way to get the help they need. I look forward to working with the Governor and my municipal colleagues to implement a program of work at the local level. “Governor Newsom’s groundbreaking CARE Court proposal bursts into a key missing piece of the homeless challenge,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “For the sickest and most vulnerable people on our streets, governments tasked with helping them must be legally bound to act.” CARE Court provides individualized court-ordered interventions and services, stabilization medications, advanced mental health guidelines, and housing assistance, while remaining community-focused. Plans can go up to 12-24 months. In addition to their full clinical team, the client-centered approach also includes a public advocate and supporter to help individuals make self-directed care decisions. “We need to stop trying to fix a broken system,” said Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Stephen V. Manley. “We are rapidly returning to where we were 100 years ago using incarceration as the only alternative for people with severe mental disorders. We need new ideas and a new approach, and Governor Newsom is giving us one. Nami-Santa Clara County appreciates Governor Newsom’s initiative through the CARE Court program,” said Rovina Nimbalkar, Executive Director of Nami-Santa Clara County. “With CARE Court in place, we will have a better opportunity to help those in difficulty to embark on the path of recovery towards a more fulfilling life.” The CARE Court framework was created using evidence that many people can stabilize, begin to heal, and move out of homelessness in less restrictive community care settings. The plan focuses on people on the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, who may also have substance use issues and who lack medical decision-making capacity, and offers upstream diversion from guardianships or more restrictive incarceration.

The framework provides individuals with a clinically appropriate, community-based, court-ordered plan of care comprised of culturally and linguistically competent county mental health and substance use disorder treatment services. These include short-term stabilization medication, wellness and recovery supports, and connection to social services, including a housing plan. Services are provided to the individual through an outpatient model while living in the community.

“Governor Newsom’s CARE Court Plan is a welcome program for LA County,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell. “The city of Redondo Beach in my district has successfully implemented a similar program with its homeless court. Through the Governor’s CARE Court program, LA County can expand this model of people-centered prevention and support for our most vulnerable homeless neighbors. It is a community-based approach to preventing the involvement of justice by connecting people to services for up to 24 months.

“After 30 years in the field serving vulnerable people and experiencing challenges getting them to the appropriate level of care, I welcome discussion around a definitive assessment process and look forward to participating in discussions to find solutions that better serve this population,” said California Professional Firefighters President Brian K Rice. In the event that a participant cannot successfully complete a plan of care, the individual may be referred for guardianship, in accordance with applicable law, with the presumption that no suitable alternative to guardianship is available. All counties in the state will participate in CARE Court as part of the proposal. If local governments fail to meet their specified obligations under court-ordered care plans, the court will have the ability to order penalties and, in extreme cases, appoint an officer to ensure that services are provided. CARE Court is building on Governor Newsom’s $14 billion multi-year investment to provide 55,000 new housing and treatment windows and nearly $10 billion annually in community behavioral health services. The Governor’s approach focuses on quickly relocating unhoused people with behavioral health issues, while bringing new units online, while transforming Medi-Cal to provide more behavioral health services to the most vulnerable people. difficulty.


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