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Laura's Law Implementation in Placer County




Placer County became the sixth county in California Tuesday to implement Laura's Law - a state statute that authorizes court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment of residents with severe mental illness in some cases.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a resolution authorizing implementation of Laura's Law. As required by state law, the resolution also protects existing voluntary mental health services for adults and children, saying the county will not need to reduce them in order to implement the new program.

Board Chairman Jack Duran commended the Health and Human Services Department for its foresight in leading the drive to bring the law to Placer County and for working with the Placer County Superior Court and other agencies to plan for its implementation.

"It's something that's going to make our county a better place to live," said Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery.

"This has been a long time coming," added Supervisor Jim Holmes.

Representatives from several different community and professional organizations urged the board to approve the resolution.

Speakers from HHS and community groups emphasized that recovery from severe mental illness is possible, particularly with early, effective treatment. They noted that residents with serious mental illness often do not seek treatment and lack insight into the nature of their illness. 

Implementation of Placer County's new program is scheduled to start next January. HHS estimated treatment costs will be approximately $400,000 per year, noting that the state and federal governments will cover 100 percent of the costs. State funding is available as a result of legislation authored by California Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg in 2012 that explicitly authorized funding mental health services provided under Laura's Law with revenue from Proposition 63, a measure approved by state voters in 2004 that now is commonly known as the California Mental Health Services Act.

The law was named after Laura Wilcox, a student intern at the Nevada County Behavioral Health clinic who was shot and killed in 2001 by a client who had discontinued treatment.

Nevada County Director of Health Michael Heggarty addressed Tuesday's meeting of the Placer County Board of Supervisors, emphasizing that the law has been very successful in his county.

He noted that about 80 people have received assisted outpatient treatment in Nevada County since Laura's Law went into effect. Many are no longer homeless and are staying out of jail and hospital emergency rooms. Almost all of them have agreed to take their medications.

Heggarty said Nevada County had no way to engage residents in that group before Laura's Law. "Mostly, what we had to do was wait for something really bad to happen," he told the board.

Placer County offers a continuum of voluntary mental health services through Health and Human Services. In a report to the board, HHS noted that assisted outpatient treatment will fill a gap in the county's continuum of care by providing a new tool for treating residents with severe mental illness that is less restrictive than conservatorship or locked inpatient care.  

Laura's Law authorizes court-ordered intensive outpatient treatment of adults with severe mental illness who refuse voluntary treatment if their conditions are deteriorating substantially and their mental illness has resulted in:
* Them being hospitalized or jailed at least twice in the preceding 36 months; or
* Violence or attempted violence against themselves or others within the last 48 months.

Assisted outpatient treatment can be requested for an individual by:
* Immediate family members who are adults;
* Adults who reside with the individual;
* The director of a hospital, facility or other organization that is treating the individual;
* A licensed mental health professional treating the person; or
* A police, parole or probation officer.

HHS officials told the board they assume about 20 residents will be referred to the Laura's Law program annually, emphasizing that some will agree to be treated while court orders will be needed to treat others. Participants will receive individually tailored treatment plans that include mental and physical health, substance abuse, employment and housing services.





Placer County News Headlines

Campgrounds Open Along Middle Fork of American RiverAUBURN, Calif. - With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, the United States Forest Service has announced the opening of campgrounds at French Meadows and Hell Hole Reservoirs

Roseville Flash Crime Report (5.26.17)Roseville, CA- Summary digest of Roseville Police selected activity log covering the period of May 19- 26, 2017.

2017 Acura MDX: classy and versatileRoseville, CA- Now in its eighth year of production by Honda's luxury division, the 2017 Acura MDX is a midsize luxury crossover SUV that is appealing for a variety of reasons.

2017 PlacerArts Summer Concert SeriesAuburn, CA- The annual and free Auburn Summer Concert Series returns for another season beginning June 11, 2017

Affordable Housing Fee Workshops in Auburn and Kings BeachAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County has scheduled two housing fee study workshops in June, one in Kings Beach and another in Auburn

USA Fastpitch Competition in South Placer County this JuneRocklin, CA --USA Fastpitch is coming to Roseville, Lincoln and Rocklin June 2-4 for three days of softball competition.

City of Roseville's $507 Million Proposed Operating BudgetRoseville, CA- The City of Roseville's proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 is available for review

San Juan Water District Receives Excellence in Financial Reporting AwardGranite Bay, Calif. - The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded the San Juan Water District

Sports Stars Join Rocklin Golf Fundraiser at Whitney OaksHall of Famer Willie Brown, Jim Plunkett, Daryle Lamonica, Charles Woodson, Phil Villapiano, Rod Martin and several more Oakland Raiders headline a dazzling field

Silversun Pickups Summer Tour with Third Eye BlindFollowing their upcoming BottleRock Napa Valley performance, this summer, Silversun Pickups will embark on a 30-date amphitheater tour opening for Third Eye Blind. The "Summer Gods" Tour celebrates Third Eye Blind's 20th anniversary

Garland Ranch Regional Park: Tranquility in Monterey CountyCarmel Valley, California - The "granddaddy" of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, Garland Ranch is a fine elder statesman of parks.

Roseville Firefighters Union Blast City's Proposed Staffing CutsRoseville, Calif. - With rising temperatures and fire season upon us, city leaders in Roseville have proposed drastic staffing cuts to the Roseville Fire Department


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