CSAC Bulletin Article

CARE Court Bill to be Amended as it Moves Through Senate
Amendments Expected Soon

May 19, 2022

Senate Bill 1338 by Senators Tom Umberg and Susan Talamantes Eggman to implement the Governor’s Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Courts framework continues to move through the Senate.  

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB 1338 off of the Suspense File today with amendments, although those language changes have not yet been published. The amendments may be released as early as tonight. 

CSAC, along with a robust county coalition, continues to advocate for implementation funding as well as key policy changes to SB 1338. The Governor’s May Revision Budget included a placeholder for potential county CARE Court funding, pending additional conversations between counties and the Department of Finance. The May Revision also included almost $65 million for the courts and state to implement the new program. 

For the Senate Appropriations Committee, CSAC, along with Urban Counties of California (UCC); Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC); County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA); California Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians, and Public Conservators (CAPAPGPC); and the County Welfare Directors of California (CWDA) emphasized the need for substantial new ongoing funding to realize the Governor’s vision for the bill.

As outlined in SB 1338, CARE Courts require significant engagement from counties – especially county behavioral health and county public defenders – from beginning to end. Counties also require new resources up-front to establish the new CARE Court process. CSAC, along with the county organizations above, is working diligently to identify and estimate county responsibilities and potential costs to effectively serve individuals who are referred to the courts and those who ultimately enter the program and receive a CARE plan.

Additionally, major policy changes involving state-county partnership programs and services necessitate a shared framework for sharing costs and responsibilities. Such protections – for both the state and counties – were included in 1991 and 2011 Realignment, and more recently with the Division of Juvenile Justice realignment. Counties believe the CARE Court proposal requires statutory provisions that provide protections for the new responsibilities and associated costs.

CSAC will continue to engage on both the fiscal and policy issues embodied in SB 1338 and provide counties with the latest updates.


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