Senator McGuire Endorses CARE Court’s Mental Health Framework, While Acknowledging Tough Elevator for Del Norte County | Wild Rivers Outpost

Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Today at 5:29 p.m. / Community, Homelessness, Local Government

Senator McGuire endorses CARE Court’s mental health framework, while acknowledging tough lift for Del Norte County

On Friday, State Senator Mike McGuire visited residents of Del Norte County and elected officials in Crescent City. | Photo: Jessica C. Andrews


• Del Norte supervisors: State’s proposed CARE court mental health framework is onerous for rural communities


The Del Norte County state senator announced a plan to establish a crisis residential facility in the community and promised to help Del Norte successfully launch CARE Court, a project of county supervisors of the system of Mental Health said Tuesday would be onerous for rural California.

State Senator Mike McGuire acknowledged that implementing the framework outlined in California Senate Bill 1338 – the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act – would be difficult for Del Norte and other counties. rural. But, he said, the details are being discussed “even as we speak”.

“The California State Counties Association has submitted a letter to the Governor’s Office and the Budget Committee expressing their concerns,” McGuire told the Wild Rivers Outpost. “What is their #1 concern is continued funding. So, at this time we will place a column with a three-year warranty. The other issue is housing—where are we going to house people who might come out of 12 to 24 months? All of this is under discussion even as we speak.

At a town hall meeting Friday at the Municipal Crescent City Fire and Rescue Station, McGuire discussed transportation, STAA Project 199/197, Last Chance Grade, health care and wildfires. But it’s its focus on homelessness and mental health that has elicited the most questions and comments from the public, including Lisa Freitas, association director at the Del Norte Association of Realtors.

Freitas told the state senator that her son is currently in acute psychiatric care and it has been difficult to place him in guardianship. She asked McGuire how soon a CARE Court-like framework could be implemented.

“He needs to be able to be placed in a long-term care facility for at least six to 12 months for his life trajectory to change,” she said. “This kid’s graduated from high school and he’s got a future and I’m sick of having to keep him out of jail, and it looks like the only thing that’s going to happen is he’s going to literally have to being arrested so he can get the kind of sanity he needs.

McGuire referenced the dismantling of state hospitals in the 1980s, pointing out that there was a massive decrease in housing funding at the state and federal levels despite massive economic growth in California. The Golden State is about 2 million units short for “where we need to be,” he said.

McGuire said the state has allocated a total of $14 billion for 55,000 permanent supportive housing units with mental health and addictions supports. Counties requesting those dollars will receive a minimum of three years of funding, he said, and can provide emergency housing for those living in volatile environments.

However, noting that guardianship laws in California have been lax, McGuire said there will be between 15,000 and 30,000 people who will not accept these services. This, he said, is why CARE Court is needed.

“My family is like millions of others who have a sibling or aunt and uncle who are struggling with this,” he said. “And there are some who may need extra help to be able to overcome the hurdle of being able to help themselves.”

Under the CARE Court, judges would be able to compel people with serious mental illness and addictions into treatment while providing them with supportive housing and wrap-around services.

Program participants could be those who are involuntarily hospitalized under a 5150 load; be referred to CARE court through the criminal justice system or be referred on the recommendation of family members, mental health providers or first responders. In addition to a clinical team, participants would be offered the services of a public defender and a lawyer who could help them make medical decisions.

Participation in CARE Court would be limited to at least one year with the possibility of an additional one-year extension, according to a CalMatters article. All California counties would be required to participate in the program and could face penalties of up to $1,000 per day if they are unable to provide these services.

In a letter to the authors of the bill, state senators Tom Umberg and Susan Talamantes Eggman on Tuesday, county supervisors said Del Norte County lacks the capacity to implement much of which is described under CARE Court. Citing CSAC and representatives from rural California counties, Del Norte supervisors urged state lawmakers to allow CARE Court to be an opt-in pilot.

On Friday, McGuire said he envisions CARE Court being phased in over the next 24 to 36 months, but added it would likely take five years to roll out statewide. He expects CARE’s court to be challenged legally, but said there is legal precedent for conservatories in the state.

“That’s why we’re basically in the justice system and not in law enforcement or county mental health,” McGuire said.

McGuire speculated that the CARE Court framework, including wraparound services and housing, would be implemented by a nonprofit provider or by a county-level health and human services department.

As for a crisis residential center, the development of such a facility in Del Norte County is in its infancy, according to McGuire. However, in Humboldt County, development of a 10-12 bed facility is already underway and the Department of Public Health has launched a bidding process and selected a non-profit facility that is reimbursed by MediCal and MediCaid.

McGuire said he also helped secure $2.2 million for the county to purchase a facility that the nonprofit could then upgrade or for the nonprofit to purchase a facility .

“It would be a locked facility,” he said. “It would be a wait of 30, potentially 60 days and during those 30-60 days, (they would) be stabilized, put them on a CARE plan and connect them to a nonprofit or a health department public depending on how the county runs their system and places them in housing.

McGuire said he hopes to secure funding to start a similar facility in Del Norte County.

“There are facilities in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim,” he said. “There’s one in San Diego. We would have the first two in rural California, Humboldt as well as Del Norte County.

McGuire also spoke about the STAA 197/199 project, which is fully funded and aims to widen three curves on US 199 and replace a 96-year-old bridge. The project also includes widening two curves on State Route 197 near Ruby Van Deventer County Park.
Caltrans’ goal is to make the project safer for trucks that meet the 1982 Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) standard. However, he has been tied to litigation for about six years.

“I’m a big believer that we need to bring this highway up to federal guidelines and we need to move forward on the highway project,” McGuire said. “But this spill that we saw with the asphalt chemicals that poured into the Smith River, it’s an alarm and the alarm couldn’t be louder. I believe we can move forward with the expansion of 199 in an environmentally friendly way, but we have to move forward. »

McGuire also told Del Norte County residents to stay tuned for a July 12 community meeting focused on the last chance.

Assemblyman Jim Wood and Congressman Jared Huffman will be in town and the meeting will provide a full update on the two proposed scenarios for a bypass around the landslide 10 miles south of Crescent City.


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