Governor Gavin Newsom Announces Los Angeles County Accelerates CARE Court Implementation to Support Californians with Untreated Severe Mental Illness
Passed in the Legislature with overwhelming support, the CARE Court is a first-in-the-nation framework to engage, assist and empower individuals suffering from untreated schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
January 14, 2023 – SACRAMENTO – Los Angeles County on Friday moved to expedite implementation of CARE Court, the state’s new framework for providing mental health and substance use disorder services to Californians suffering from serious mental health disorders . The county is working to implement the CARE Act by Dec. 1, 2023, one year ahead of schedule.
Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous, will join the original seven counties committed to implementing the CARE Court in 2023: Glenn, San Diego, San Francisco, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Orange and Riverside counties.
“CARE Court brings real progress and accountability at all levels to fix the broken system that is failing so many Californians in crisis,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “I commend Los Angeles County leaders, the courts and all local government partners and stakeholders across the state who are taking urgent action to make this life-saving 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 homelessness emergency, paving the way for an accelerated, regional response to the crisis.
“We are in a homelessness emergency and we know that many of those living on our streets are struggling with serious mental illness. Governor Newsom’s Care Court model has been a missing piece in our efforts to bring people in,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
“Across Los Angeles County, we’ve seen the effects of our mental health crisis spill over onto our streets. Many residents with severe mental health problems do not receive adequate treatment and often find themselves in a destructive cycle between our emergency departments, our jails and homelessness,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Dist. First. “CRE Court will provide people with untreated mental health problems an opportunity to be stabilized in a compassionate manner. I want to thank Governor Newsom for including Los Angeles County as one of the first participants, and I look forward to working with him to ensure swift and effective implementation.”
“I support bringing CARE Court to our county. It allows us to be on the ground floor of a new program where many processes and implementation details still need to be worked out. Our county must have a seat at the table so we can effectively bring healing to individuals living with debilitating mental illness on our streets,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Fifth District. “We have need a coordinated and consistent approach to help these individuals, and CARE Court is ready to help us accomplish that mission. Serious mental illness does not resolve itself.”
“I want to thank the Governor for his leadership. It is profoundly inhumane to allow people to suffer from mental illness and die on our streets,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “We will join hands 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 Los Angeles County Superior Court is eager to collaborate with our state and county partners to accelerate the launch of the 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 creating innovative programs that help those experiencing mental health issues, substance use disorders and other challenges. We applaud the Governor and legislative leaders for their bold vision to help vulnerable populations and their families. 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.”
The Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act, authored by Sen. Thomas Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), received bipartisan and near-unanimous approval in the state Senate and Assembly. The CARE Court will be implemented nationwide in a phased approach.
Last November, Governor Newsom convened representatives from the first group of counties to discuss their planning efforts and share feedback and best practices on implementation with the state. CalHHS is creating a CARE Act task force as part of ongoing engagement with representatives from a wide range of networks, including peers, disability rights organizations, affected families, racial equity advocates, housing and homeless, behavioral health providers, associations and more.
CARE Court’s housing and client services are supported by unprecedented funding under the state’s $15.3 billion investment to address homelessness, including $1.5 billion for Behavioral Bridge Housing; more than $11 billion annually for mental health programs across California; and more than $1.4 billion for the health and human services workforce.
In addition to the $63 million in 2022-2023 for county start-up costs, courts and legal services included in the 2022 state budget, the Governor’s budget includes an additional $215 million in full implementation to support counties, courts and legal services.
In Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health will oversee and coordinate the implementation of CARE Court.
For more information on CARE Court, visit https://www.chhs.ca.gov/care-court/
Source: Governor’s Office