California creates CARE Program for mental health

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09/14/2022, Legislation, Other subject area

California recently enacted SB 1338, the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court Program. Under the CARE Act, certain adults, including a person with whom the respondent resides, anyone who stands in loco parentis to the respondent, directors of hospitals, and first responders, may petition the court to create a voluntary CARE agreement or court-ordered CARE plan to provide behavioral health care, including stabilization medication, housing, and other services to adults experiencing a "severe mental illness" in the disorder class schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 5971(b) (defining the term "CARE plan"); § 5972 (listing criteria for CARE process); § 5974 (identifying persons who may petition to initiate CARE process).


The respondent is entitled to be represented by counsel at all stages of the proceeding, Cal. Health & Safety Code § 5976, and "[i]f the court finds that the petitioner has made a prima facie showing that the respondent is, or may be, a person a person described in Section 5972", the court shall appoint an attorney to represent the respondent in any proceeding under the part, matters related to CARE plans or agreements, and appeals. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 5977(a)(3)(A)(ii).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no