Newsom’s CARE Court Plan for Mentally-Ill Moves Forward With Bipartisan Support

Newsom’s CARE Court Plan for Mentally-Ill Moves Forward With Bipartisan Support

SACRAMENTO–Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan radical to tackle the state’s increasing homelessness by forcing people with mental illness into treatment was approved this week by an Assembly committee. This earned him bipartisan support.

Authored by Senator Thomas Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), the bill passed the Assembly Health Committee in a 14-0 vote on June 28.

Senate Bill 1338–the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act–will set into motion a civil court where judges can determine whether someone with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders should be placed into psychiatric care through a court-ordered mandate.

“Californians know that there is a need for a paradigm shift in order to assist the many individuals suffering from untreated psychosis, often found on the streets. Newsom stated in a statement. “Care Court’s passage will provide relief for those who are in desperate need of community care, as well as bring hope to the friends and families of these individuals. It will help them to feel less helpless in today’s .”

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The proposal states that if an individual refuses to receive services or is found incapable of making decisions due to mental illness, they can be placed in conservatorship.

The CARE Court Plan includes a range of services that will be offered by “county mental health agencies to provide behavioral care including housing and stabilization medication .”

Epoch Times Photo
A homeless encampment in Santa Ana, Calif., on Oct. 5, 2021. John Fredricks/The Epoch Times

Under current California law, the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Demonstration Project Act of 2002– also known as Laura’s Law–requires each state county to offer mental health programs unless a county, or group of counties, opts out of the requirement through a resolution passed by its governing body.

Short-term or long-term involuntary care and conservatorships are available for people with severe mental illnesses. These conditions can lead to self-harm or danger, inability to manage one’s basic needs, and can also cause extreme disability.

While Newsom is generally supported by his liberal colleagues, some disagreed with Newsom’s conservatorship plan.

” A person who does not follow a court-ordered treatment plan could be subject to conservatorship. This would possibly strip them of their legal capacity, personal autonomy and their ability to receive medical treatment. It also means they may lose their personal freedom and power over their lives,” said Human Rights Watch (an international non-profit organization dedicated to human rights).

Supporters of the proposition, such as Ansar El Mohammed, co-founder, Venice-based HELPER Foundation, a gang intervention non-profit, said that the governor “tapping into the real deal

“You have to deal with addiction and mental illness before you can even think about housing,” Muhammad said in an interview to The Epoch Times.

According to the last homeless count, there are 161,000 homeless people in the state.

The bill is now on its way to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it will be reviewed.

Jamie Joseph

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Jamie, a California-based journalist covering Los Angeles issues and state policy for The Epoch Times. She enjoys thrillers and nonfiction, reading, writing poetry, Christian Theology and going to the beach. Jamie can be found with a cup o’ tea on her desk writing about breaking news.

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