The CARE Court bill has been amended. You may view the amended bill language here. SYASL expects the bill to be amended at least one more time before the end of June and the start of the legislative summer recess in July. The Urban Counties Caucus, which advocates on behalf of California’s largest counties and public mental health systems, has summarized the most recent amendments as follows:

“Phased-in implementation?
…the following language is an indication of a willingness on the part of the Administration to adopt a phased-in implementation: “Section 5970.5. It is the intent of the Legislature that this part be implemented in a manner that ensures it is effective.”

The amendments add language that allows the court to consider mitigating circumstances in imposing penalties. Additionally, the language directs the revenue from the penalties into a fund used to support county activities serving individuals with serious mental illness. The Administration anticipates additional work on this sanction language.

The amendments change the presumption about an individual who is not adhering to the CARE plan. Under the prior version, the language created a presumption that no suitable community placement exists under facts considered for a conservatorship hearing. Under the new amendments, the language creates a presumption at a conservatorship hearing occurring within six months of termination of the CARE plan that the respondent needs additional intervention beyond the supports and services provided by the CARE plan.

Prescription medicines
The amendments add prescription medications to the sections of the bill requiring health plans to cover CARE Act services.

Additional process changes
The amendments also provide for the following changes to various CARE Act processes:

Revises the hearing process to include an initial investigation prior to the first court appearance to determine whether the individual meets CARE criteria.
Revises the CARE criteria to: 1) clarify a person with a substance use disorder that does not meet the required criteria does not qualify, 2) the person is not clinically stabilized in on-going voluntary treatment, 3) deletes “the person’s impaired insight or judgment presents a risk to their health and safety”, 4) adds “the person is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision and the person’s condition is substantially deteriorating.”
Revises the menu of housing and other services that a person with a CARE Plan may receive, including adding statutory citations for programs; adds the In-Home Supportive Services program.