COURT SUSPENDS PART OF MENTAL HEALTH MANDATE’S REQUIREMENTS

February 2011
Number 3

On February 9, 2011, the Sacramento Superior Court issued an order suspending part of the mandate to provide mental health services to children with disabilities. (County of Sacramento, et al. v. State of California, et al. (February 9, 2011, Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 34-2010-00090983).) The court held that counties are no longer required to provide 24-hour out-of-home care (room and board) for seriously emotionally disturbed children. The court determined that, due to the legislature’s failure to appropriate funding for services mandated by Welfare and Institutions Code section 18355, the mandate is currently unfunded. Because that specific mandate is unfunded, the Court declared that counties’ obligation to provide 24-hour out-of-home care for seriously emotionally disturbed children is suspended.

While counties are no longer required to provide services for 24-hour out-of-home care for seriously emotionally disturbed children, they are currently still obligated to provide all other mandated mental health services (collectively generally known as the “AB 3632 mandate”). The court stated that it was premature to decide whether the remainder of the mandate is unfunded at this point in the legal proceedings, because there are disputed factual issues to be resolved. Therefore, so long as the matter is still pending before the court, counties have not been legally excused from providing AB 3632 services.

If you have any questions regarding the effect of the court’s holding, please do not hesitate to contact one of our eight offices located statewide or consult our website.

© 2011 Lozano Smith

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