SAN FRANCISCO— The council at its January 20 business meeting agreed to allocate state funding designated to help courts implement the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act. The act allows specified adults to petition a civil court to create a voluntary CARE agreement or a court-ordered CARE plan, which includes treatment, housing support, and other services for persons with untreated schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
“I applaud the Governor and Legislature for addressing this issue that is of upmost importance to all Californians,” said Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero, chair of the Judicial Council. “This is clearly a large undertaking, and it will be a top priority for the council.”
Seven superior courts—Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne—will receive a share of $2,828,000 as the first cohort of courts that will launch CARE Act programs by Oct. 1. In addition to these seven courts, Governor Newsom announced late last week that the Superior Court of Los Angeles County plans to work with its county partners to implement the act by Dec. 1.
The council heard from Orange County Judge Gerald Johnston, who provided insight on how his court plans to implement the act. “This is an exciting program because we’re doing something that is desperately needed, and we’ve been given the tools to make it happen.”
While the council allocated the CARE Act funding at today’s meeting, it has also posted an invitation to comment open until Jan. 27, on new court rules and forms to help implement the act. The invitation to comment contains the proposed rules and forms, as well as background information on the act itself and the courts’ role in the process. Watch
Funding For Firearm Relinquishment Programs
Per Assembly Bill 178, the council approved grants to seven trial courts to help ensure the consistent and safe removal of firearms from individuals prohibited from owning or possessing firearms and ammunition under court order.
The superior courts receiving grants—Los Angeles, Modoc, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Ventura—will partner with at least one law enforcement agency, including police forces, sheriff departments, and district attorney offices. Funding will be used to support various activities at each court to promote compliance, which include establishing compliance review hearing calendars, increasing self-help services for restraining orders, and instituting electronic notification systems to alert law enforcement of non-compliance.
“Protecting the victims of domestic violence is critical,” added Chief Justice Guerrero. “The different approaches taken by the seven counties highlights the importance of having our local courts develop their own plans that will then serve to improve the operations of courts throughout the state.” Watch
Other items on the January 20 council meeting agenda included:
Legislative Priorities: The council approved the types of legislation it will support to increase access to justice for court users, which includes legislation to promote sufficient resources to improve remote access, adequate judgeships and judicial officers in counties with the greatest need, availability of verbatim records of court proceedings, and operational efficiencies in the courts. Watch
Strategic Plan for Technology: The council approved an update to the judicial branch’s Strategic Plan for Technology. The updated plan includes a new goal of promoting digital services that are accessible to all, regardless of location, socioeconomic status, language, physical ability, or technological access or experience. Watch
Data on Court Operations: The council received the first of ongoing annual reports that will be forwarded to the Legislature about trial court operations, which includes data on time to disposition and case clearance rates by case type, backlogs by case type, and court hours of operations including public counter hours. Watch
The complete meeting agenda and council reports are posted to the California Courts Meeting Information Center. An archived webcast of the entire meeting broken out by topic will be added to the center as soon as it is available.