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The Judicial Council is seeking comment on its draft rules and forms for the pilot CARE Court program. The Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court will allow people with mental health diseases to be forcibly committed to treatment and housing programs at the petition of concerned third parties. The program is debuting in Riverside County, along with six other pilot counties, Oct. 1, and will start in San Bernardino County and the rest of the state Dec. 1, 2024.

The Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee proposed 11 rules of court and 11 forms to implement the act. The proposal can be read in full here.

The committee said the new program is likely to make financial issues worse, even though ongoing funding is expected.

“The CARE Act itself poses significant fiscal and operational challenges for the trial courts, which need to create a new proceeding from the ground up,” the report said.

The committee’s proposals aim to minimize the expense of CARE Court, the report said. Their proposals also give local courts the flexibility to develop their own local rules.

The committee requested specific feedback:

  • Does the proposal appropriately address the stated purpose? 
  • Is it appropriate to require that a copy of the petition be served with notice of the initial appearance? 
  • Would a form for a petitioner to provide evidence under section 5975(d)(2) of a respondent’s multiple intensive treatments serve a function that is not more effectively served by direct documentary evidence of those treatments? If so, what function? What evidence or information should the form solicit from the petitioner? 
  • Would a mandatory statewide method for the court to serve Order for CARE Act Report on the county agency be necessary or sufficient to ensure that the county agency receives the order, serves notice of the order on the required parties, and prepares the report? 
  • Would a single proof of service for the notice of the initial appearance—including check boxes to indicate whether service was provided to each party personally or by mail and clear instructions that respondent must receive notice by personal service—be as effective in ensuring that all parties receive proper notice as the current division of proof of personal service on the reverse of the notice, form CARE-110, and proof of service by mail on form CARE-111?

The proposed rules say that documents submitted during CARE Act proceedings are confidential, and that their inspection is limited to the respondent, their counsel, the county behavioral health director and the director’s designee, unless a court order says otherwise.

It says that CARE Act proceedings must start on a petition named “CARE-100,” drafted by the committee. The CARE-100 form gives 13 types of people qualified to petition for a person to be placed under the CARE Court, including a roommate, a spouse, a parent, a hospital director in which the person is hospitalized, a licensed behavioral health professional who has been treating the person, a first responder who has repeated interactions with the person, a California tribal court judge or the person in question.

The form repeats the qualifications to be in a CARE Court, including being diagnosed with a psychotic order of the same class as schizophrenia, currently experiencing a severe mental illness, and needing service to prevent a relapse or deterioration that would lead to disability or serious harm. It also requires CARE Court to be the least restrictive alternative to ensure their recovery and stability. It does not require the respondent to be homeless in order to qualify for the program.

The proposed Rules of Court also require the superior court to appoint the respondent’s counsel. The court must appoint a legal services project as counsel, or, if no project has agreed to accept CARE Act appointments, must appoint the public defender to represent the respondent.

The rules also require the county behavioral health agency to serve notice of a CARE Court hearing to the respondent and their counsel no later than five days before the hearing.

The committee also created a draft information form about the CARE Act to petitioners and respondents.

The time to comment has been extended to Jan. 27, 2023, according to the Judicial Council.

Comment can be provided through the Judicial Council’s online comment form, or by emailing

Read Follow Our Court’s prior coverage:

CARE Court would establish plan for untreated schizophrenia spectrum, bill drafts show

CARE Court bill passes California Senate

Riverside County to start CARE Court program a year ahead of most counties

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