Senators Umberg and Eggman to Introduce CARE Courts Legislation

Sen. Thomas J. Umberg (D–Orange County), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with co-author Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), chair of the budget subcommittee on health and Social Services, amended Senate Bill 1338 into a measure establishing the CARE Courts in California.

CARE Courts are a new policy framework proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom to provide community-based mental health and addictions treatment services to Californians facing the most acute challenges, many of whom are homeless.

“I have seen firsthand the good that can happen when our judicial, executive and legislative branches work together to address sensitive populations and nuanced issues like mental health, veterans, at-risk youth and drug addiction. Individual frameworks and collaborative best practices exist here in California – I am confident we can bring them together for something new and revolutionary in human services for California’s most disadvantaged,” said Senator Umberg.

The Newsom administration hosted CARE Court roundtables across the state with health care and service providers, affected Californians, local and court officials, and other stakeholders. These conversations have profoundly informed the language introduced in SB 1338 today and will remain an important reference for policy discussions in the future.

Senator Eggman, a licensed clinical social worker, echoed Senator Umberg’s sense of urgency for significant reform. “The behavioral health crisis we see on our streets every day requires changes to our existing system as well as new ways to address this persistent and worsening challenge. The Governor’s Care Court proposal offers an important new tool to help the most vulnerable among us and to help give them the dignity we all deserve.

As a former deputy drug czar under President Clinton, federal prosecutor and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Umberg has devoted years to the complex and interrelated issues of mental illness, homelessness and criminal behavior. and ways to resolve them. them. He is a board member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and has volunteered and counseled those operating both the drug and veterans court systems over the years.

“I commend the governor for addressing this critical and complicated issue from a stakeholder perspective,” Senator Umberg said. “If this was a network of easy-to-solve problems, we wouldn’t be here. I look forward to working with Senator Eggman, the Governor, my legislative colleagues and stakeholders as we engage in incredibly difficult and moving conversations over the coming months and years.

The language and framework inserted into SB 1338 will be available at www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov within 24 hours and the measure will be heard in policy committee(s) in the coming weeks.

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