Los Angeles County launched a sweeping new plan, backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, to tackle severe mental illness by mandating treatment for those at serious risk, with the first Plans to join the county wave.
The governor’s office announced Friday that the County of Los Angeles will begin a new program known as CARE Court (For Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment) by December 1, a year earlier than expected.
“The CARE Court will bring real progress and accountability at every level to fix the broken system that is putting so many Californians at risk,” Newsom said in a statement. I know that governments, courts, all local government partners and stakeholders across the state are taking urgent action to make this life-saving initiative a reality for the thousands of suffering Californians. I applaud you.”
But Friday afternoon the key question of whether the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors should vote on plans for the county to participate in the program remained open. Janice Hahn, Kathryn Barger — have expressed their support in public statements.
The Board of Supervisors oversees the county’s department of mental health and serves as the administrator of the CARE court program.
When signed into law, the CARE Act identified seven counties for their first deployment on October 1. Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Stanislaus, Tuolumne. The rest of the state, including Los Angeles County, is through December 2024.
Adding Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous county, to the first phase of the new program could affect Newsom’s ambition to address one of California’s most vexing problems. .
By one estimate, nearly 40% of homeless people experience severe mental illness, substance abuse disorders, or both. More precisely, UCLA’s California Policy Lab found that more than 4,500 of her county’s street-living people have mental disorders like schizophrenia, and that number is outreached to her services. We have determined that only those who have
Participating in Phase 1 of the CARE Court measures the urgency of California’s homeless crisis and carries some risk. Difficulties in running the program in Los Angeles County are poorly reflected in the program and may invite further criticism.
Supervisor Lindsey Horvath told The Times, “We are concerned about the hasty decision to join the program.”
“Without the right investment and clear direction, this system risks breaking the promise we made to LA County voters to bring real and meaningful progress and change. ,” said Horvath.
Newsom’s announcement is the latest in a series of actions taken by both the city and county of Los Angeles in recent weeks to address both the mental illness and homelessness crises that have hit the city.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declared a state of emergency in the city on her first day in office, Dec. 12, and county supervisors followed almost a month later. The declaration will help expedite services to the tens of thousands of homeless people in the region.
“We support the introduction of the CARE Court to our county, which allows us to be in the first stages of a new program that still needs to work out many process and implementation details,” said Barger. said in a statement. “Our county needs to have a seat at the table so we can effectively bring healing to those living with debilitating mental illness on the streets.
“Helping these individuals requires a coordinated and consistent approach, and the CARE Court stands ready to help us fulfill that mission. not.”
When Newsom introduced the CARE Act in March, his proposal met with early opposition.
The legislation was intended to address the state’s homeless crisis through the auspices of the California Department of Health and Human Services and was administered by county agencies.. But demanding that these agencies deal with the homeless (with sanctions if court-ordered housing is not provided) is difficult, said Veronica Kelley, Ph.D., director of behavioral health services in Orange County. says.
So the CARE Act evolved, and when it was signed into law in September, the focus was on helping individuals with schizophrenia and related disorders, not the homeless. Many behavioral health departments have since decided that it would be in their interest to be the first set of counties to implement the program.
Reporter Rebecca Ellis contributed to this article.