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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

Holiday in the Hills on the Placer Wine Trail in DecemberRoseville, CA, - Come join us and help celebrate the holidays on the Placer Wine Trail to benefit Toys for Tots. Enjoy the holidays in Placer County

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Comes to Life at This EventSacramento, Calif. - Dr. Seuss' beloved holiday tale "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" will come to life at Fairytale Town's annual Winter Wonderland event.

California Bowl in Roseville November 24- 26Roseville, CA - Nov. 16, 2017 -One of the most competitive and exciting youth football tournaments on the west coast returns to Roseville over Thanksgiving weekend.

Kids with Disabilities to Get Help with Telemedicine Program (Sacramento, Calif.) - The UC Davis Department of Pediatrics has received a $2 million, five-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to fund a new telemedicine program

Gun Scare in Roseville at Woodcreek HighRoseville, CA, - Roseville Police find loaded handgun following alert from Woodcreek High Students.

Ford can 'Focus' on its futureRoseville, CA,- Not many people are probably aware, but the Ford Focus has been among the top-selling cars in the world, and even held the top spot in 2013.

$1.5 Million in Grants for Sacramento-area NonprofitsRoseville, CA,- Kaiser Permanente has awarded 52 grants totaling more than $1.5 million to local not-for-profit organizations, schools and public entities in Sacramento, Yolo and Placer counties.

Roseville Gas Prices Up 20 Percent Year from Last YearRoseville, CA,- Gas prices in Roseville ticked up slightly this past week. Following on the heels on California's $5 billion a year gas tax hike

Holiday Safety Tips by Roseville Police Dept.Roseville, CA,- The holiday season is a busy and festive time. While you're busy preparing, criminals are stepping up their efforts to increase their holiday haul.

Fishing Club Monthly Breakfast in AuburnThe Rooster Tails Fishing Club monthly breakfast will be held at the Auburn Elks Lodge at 195 Pine Street in Auburn on November 17

Placer County Regional Bikeway Plan UpdateAs Placer County experiences dramatic growth in population, new homes and businesses, the popularity of cycling grows at the same time

Orange is New Pink 5K Walk for Breast CancerOrange is the New Pink 5K Walk for Breast Cancer will take place Sunday, Dec. 3 at Mandarin Hill Orchards in Penryn


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