March 15, 2022

LA County Supervisors back Newsom’s CARE Court Plan

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors threw their support behind Governor Newsom’s recently unveiled CARE Court proposal, a new framework to address the growing mental health and homelessness crisis in California.

The Board unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and coauthored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger which directs the LA County CEO’s office to send a letter of support to the Governor from the Board, directs County departments to assist in the development of the CARE Court program, and advocates for the necessary ongoing funding to successfully implement the program.

“Some of the most vulnerable people suffering on our streets are also suffering from severe mental illness or addiction and we have not had the tools to help them,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “The CARE Court proposal is that missing link. My colleagues and I are not only throwing our support behind the Governor’s effort, but we are also ready to help design this program and make it as effective as possible.”

On March 3, 2022, Governor Newsom announced a new proposal called the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court which would use the judicial system to compel people suffering from severe mental illness and/or addiction into treatment and, for those who are unhoused, into housing. Although the full details of the plan are still being worked out, the proposed CARE Court appears to offer a much-needed tool to provide mental health treatment, substance use treatment, and housing to those individuals who are most vulnerable and in need.

“The new CARE Court model fills a critical gap,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “For years, our hands have been tied when it comes to helping people experiencing homelessness that can’t care for themselves. We need to remove barriers so we can serve the mentally ill individuals who are abandoned on our streets. CARE Court is a step in the right direction.”

Individuals with untreated severe mental illness or substance use disorders too often end up on the streets in Los Angeles County, in the County jails, or in the County hospitals with ailments that have been exacerbated by neglect.

Here in LA County, Supervisor Hahn has championed local Homeless Courts which use a similar model to the CARE Court to effectively connect people with the care and services they need. She has supported a Homeless Court program launched by Redondo Beach in 2020, funded a new Homeless Court in Long Beach, and is helping the City of Torrance start their own Homeless Court this year.

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