Today's Law As Amended

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SB-1045 Conservatorship: chronic homelessness: mental illness and substance use disorders.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.

 Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 5450) is added to Part 1 of Division 5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

CHAPTER  5. Housing Conservatorship for Chronically Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders
5450.
 (a) Until January 1, 2024, this article shall apply only to the County of Los Angeles and the City and County of San Francisco if the board of supervisors of the respective county or city and county, by resolution or through the county budget process, authorizes the application of this article and makes a finding that no voluntary mental health program serving adults, and no children’s mental health program, may be reduced as a result of the implementation of this article.
(b) (1) Before the county board of supervisors may authorize the application of this article, the county mental health department, the county welfare department, and, if one exists, the county department of housing and homeless services shall present before the county board of supervisors on the available resources for the implementation of this article.
(2) In order to approve authorization of the application of this article, the county board of supervisors shall determine, based on materials presented, that all of the following services are available within the county or city and county for utilization in connection with the application of this article:
(A) Supportive community housing that provides wraparound services, with adequate beds available.
(B) Public conservators trained on the specifics of the new form of conservatorship described in this article.
(C) Outpatient mental health counseling.
(D) Coordination and access to medications.
(E) Psychiatric and psychological services.
(F) Substance use disorder services.
(G) Vocational rehabilitation.
(H) Veterans’ services.
(I) Family support and consultation services.
5451.
 In the County of Los Angeles and the City and County of San Francisco, subject to Section 5450, a conservator of the person may be appointed for a person who is chronically homeless and incapable of caring for the person’s own health and well-being due to a serious mental illness and substance use disorder, as evidenced by high-frequency emergency department use, high-frequency jail detention due to behavior resulting from the person’s serious mental illness and substance use disorder, or frequent detention for evaluation and treatment pursuant to Section 5150. The procedure for establishing, administering, and terminating a conservatorship under this chapter shall be the same as provided for in Division 4 (commencing with Section 1400) of the Probate Code, except as follows:
(a) The court may appoint the public conservator or the director of a local agency who is tasked with addressing the homeless population in the county of residence of the person to serve as conservator if it is in the best interests of the proposed conservatee.
(b) (1) The person for whom conservatorship is sought shall have the right to demand a court or jury trial on the issue of whether the person meets the criteria for the appointment of a conservator of the person under this chapter. Demand for court or jury trial shall be made within five days following the hearing on the conservatorship petition. If the proposed conservatee demands a court or jury trial before the date of the hearing as provided for in Section 5466, the demand shall constitute a waiver of the hearing.
(2) Court or jury trial shall commence within 10 days of the date of the demand, except that the court shall continue the trial date for a period not to exceed 15 days upon the request of counsel for the proposed conservatee.
(3) This right shall also apply in subsequent proceedings to reestablish conservatorship.
(c) Conservatorship investigation shall be conducted pursuant to this part and shall not be subject to Section 1826 of, or Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1850) of Part 3 of Division 4 of, the Probate Code.
(d) Notice of proceedings under this chapter shall be given to a guardian or conservator of the person or estate of the proposed conservatee appointed under the Probate Code.
(e) As otherwise provided for in this chapter.
5452.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Chronically homeless” shall have the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 578.3 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(b) “Frequent detention for evaluation and treatment” means four or more detentions for evaluation and treatment in the preceding 12 months.
(c) “High-frequency emergency department use” means five or more monthly individual patient visits to an emergency department.
(d) “High-frequency jail detention” means five or more monthly bookings, detentions, or other processing of the person into a jail.
(e) “Homeless” shall have the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 578.3 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
5453.
 The purpose of conservatorship under this chapter is to provide appropriate placement, including a licensed health care or psychiatric facility or community-based residential care setting, in supportive community housing that provides wraparound services, such as onsite physical and behavioral health services, for a person who is chronically homeless and incapable of caring for the person’s own health and well-being due to a serious mental illness and substance use disorder, as evidenced by high-frequency emergency department use, high-frequency jail detention due to behavior resulting from the person’s serious mental illness and substance use disorder, or frequent detention for evaluation and treatment pursuant to Section 5150.
5454.
 In the County of Los Angeles and the City and County of San Francisco, subject to Section 5450, the governing board shall designate the agency or agencies to provide conservatorship investigation as set forth in this chapter. The governing board may designate that conservatorship services be provided by the public guardian or agency providing public guardian services.
5455.
 (a) (1) The professional person in charge of a hospital facility providing emergency services may recommend conservatorship to the officer providing conservatorship investigation in the county of residence of the person if the professional person in charge of the hospital facility determines that a person in the professional’s care is chronically homeless and incapable of caring for the person’s own health and well-being due to a serious mental illness and substance use disorder, as evidenced by high-frequency emergency department use, high-frequency jail detention due to behavior resulting from the person’s serious mental illness and substance use disorder, or frequent detention for evaluation and treatment pursuant to Section 5150.
(2) The county sheriff may recommend conservatorship to the officer providing conservatorship investigation in the county of residence of the person if the sheriff determines that a person detained in a jail is chronically homeless and incapable of caring for the person’s own health and well-being due to a serious mental illness and substance use disorder, as evidenced by high-frequency emergency department use, high-frequency jail detention due to behavior resulting from the person’s serious mental illness and substance use disorder, or frequent detention for evaluation and treatment pursuant to Section 5150.
(3) The director of a county mental health department or county department of public social services may recommend conservatorship to the officer providing conservatorship investigation in the county of residence of the person if the director determines that a person is chronically homeless and incapable of caring for the person’s own health and well-being due to a serious mental illness and substance use disorder, as evidenced by high-frequency emergency department use, high-frequency jail detention due to behavior resulting from the person’s serious mental illness and substance use disorder, or frequent detention for evaluation and treatment pursuant to Section 5150.
(4) The professional person in charge of an agency providing comprehensive evaluation or a facility providing intensive treatment may recommend conservatorship to the officer providing conservatorship investigation in the county of residence of the person if the professional person in charge of the agency providing comprehensive evaluation or the facility providing intensive treatment determines that a person in the professional’s care is chronically homeless and incapable of caring for the person’s own health and well-being due to a serious mental illness and substance use disorder, as evidenced by high-frequency emergency department use, high-frequency jail detention due to behavior resulting from the person’s serious mental illness and substance use disorder, or frequent detention for evaluation and treatment pursuant to Section 5150.
(b) If the officer providing conservatorship investigation concurs with the recommendation, the officer shall petition the superior court in the county of residence of the person to establish conservatorship.
5456.
 The establishment of a conservatorship pursuant to this chapter is subject to a finding by the court that the behavioral health director of the county or the city and county has previously attempted by petition to obtain a court order authorizing assisted outpatient treatment pursuant to Article 9 (commencing with Section 5345) of Chapter 2 for the person for whom conservatorship is sought, and that both of the following conditions exist:
(a) The petition was denied or the assisted outpatient treatment was insufficient to treat the person’s mental illness.
(b) Assisted outpatient treatment would be insufficient to treat the person in the instant matter in lieu of a conservatorship.
5457.
 (a) The officer providing conservatorship investigation shall investigate all available alternatives to conservatorship and shall recommend conservatorship to the court only if no suitable alternatives are available. This officer shall render to the court a written report of investigation prior to the hearing. The report to the court shall be comprehensive and shall contain all relevant aspects of the person’s medical, psychological, financial, family, vocational, and social condition, and information obtained from the person’s family members, close friends, social worker, or principal therapist. The report shall also contain all available information concerning the person’s real and personal property. The facilities providing medical treatment, or intensive treatment or comprehensive evaluation, the sheriff, and the director of the county mental health department or the county department of public social services shall disclose any records or information that may facilitate the investigation. If the officer providing conservatorship investigation recommends against conservatorship, he or she shall set forth all alternatives available. When confidentiality and client privacy laws permit, a copy of the report shall be transmitted to the individual who originally recommended conservatorship, and the information shared shall be compliant with state and federal laws governing protected health information. The court may receive the report in evidence and may read and consider the contents of the report in rendering its judgment.
(b) The report of the officer providing conservatorship investigation shall contain the officer’s recommendations concerning the powers to be granted to, and the duties to be imposed upon, the conservator, the legal disabilities to be imposed upon the conservatee, and the proper placement for the conservatee pursuant to Section 5460. The report to the court shall also contain an agreement signed by the person or agency recommended to serve as conservator certifying that the person or agency is able and willing to serve as conservator.
5458.
 Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the person recommended to serve as conservator shall promptly notify the officer providing conservatorship investigation whether the person recommended to serve as conservator will accept the position if appointed. If notified that the person or agency recommended will not accept the position if appointed, the officer providing conservatorship investigation shall promptly recommend another person to serve as conservator.
5459.
 (a) A person or agency shall not be designated as conservator whose interests, activities, obligations, or responsibilities are such as to compromise the person’s or agency’s ability to represent and safeguard the interests of the conservatee.
(b) If a public guardian is appointed conservator, the public guardian’s official bond and oath as public guardian are in lieu of the conservator’s bond and oath on the grant of letters of conservatorship. A bond shall not be required of any other public officer or employee appointed to serve as conservator.
5460.
 When ordered by the court after the hearing required by this chapter, a conservator appointed pursuant to this chapter shall provide appropriate placement for the conservatee, including a licensed health care or psychiatric facility or community-based residential care setting, in supportive community housing that provides wraparound services, such as onsite physical and behavioral health services.
5461.
 (a) At any time, a conservatee or any person on the conservatee’s behalf with the consent of the conservatee or the conservatee’s counsel, may petition the court for a hearing to contest the powers granted to the conservator under Section 5460. However, after the filing of the first petition for hearing pursuant to this section, no further petition for rehearing shall be submitted for a period of six months.
(b) A request for hearing pursuant to this section shall not affect the right of a conservatee to petition the court for a rehearing as to his or her status as a conservatee pursuant to Section 5465. A hearing pursuant to this section shall not include trial by jury.
5462.
 (a) Conservatorship initiated pursuant to this chapter shall automatically terminate one year after the appointment of the conservator by the superior court. If upon the termination of an initial or a succeeding period of conservatorship the conservator determines that conservatorship is still required, the conservator may petition the superior court for the conservator’s reappointment as conservator for a succeeding one-year period.
(b) Any supportive housing program in which a conservatee is placed shall release the conservatee at the conservatee’s request when the conservatorship terminates. A petition for reappointment filed by the conservator or a petition for appointment filed by a public guardian or public conservator shall be transmitted to the supportive housing program at least 30 days before the automatic termination date. The program may hold the conservatee after the end of the termination date only if the conservatorship proceedings have not been completed and the court orders the conservatee to be held until the proceedings have been completed.
5463.
 (a) The clerk of the superior court shall notify each conservator, the conservatee, the person in charge of the supportive housing program in which the conservatee receives services, and the conservatee’s attorney, at least 60 days before the termination of the one-year period. Notification shall be given in person or by first-class mail.
(b) Subject to a request for a court hearing or jury trial, the judge may, on the judge’s own motion, accept or reject the conservator’s petition.
(c) If the conservator does not petition to reestablish conservatorship at or before the termination of the one-year period, the court shall issue a decree terminating conservatorship. The decree shall be sent to the conservator and the conservatee by first-class mail.
(d) The Judicial Council may adopt rules, forms, and standards necessary to implement this chapter.
5464.
 In the event the conservator continues in good faith to act within the powers granted to the conservator in the original decree of conservatorship beyond the one-year period, the conservator may petition for and shall be granted a decree ratifying the conservator’s acts as conservator beyond the one-year period. The decree shall provide for a retroactive appointment of the conservator to provide continuity of authority in those cases where the conservator did not apply in time for reappointment.
5465.
 (a) At any time, the conservatee may petition the superior court for a rehearing as to the conservatee’s status as a conservatee. However, after the filing of the first petition for rehearing pursuant to this section, no further petition for rehearing shall be submitted for a period of 30 days.
(b) If a conservatee appeals a court’s decision to establish a conservatorship, the conservatorship shall continue unless execution of judgment is stayed by the appellate court.
5466.
 A hearing shall be held on all petitions under this chapter within 30 days of the date of the petition. The court shall appoint the public defender or other attorney for the conservatee or proposed conservatee within five days after the date of the petition.
5467.
 This chapter shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2024, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Article 7 (commencing with Section 5555) is added to Chapter 6.2 of Part 1 of Division 5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

Article  7. Housing Conservatorship Working Group
5555.
 (a) The County of Los Angeles and the City and County of San Francisco, subject to Section 5450, shall establish a working group to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of the implementation of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 5450) in addressing the needs of chronically homeless persons with serious mental illness and substance use disorders in the county or the city and county. The working group shall be comprised of representatives of disability rights advocacy groups, the county mental health department, the county health department, the county social services department, law enforcement, staff from hospitals located in the county or the city and county, and, if one exists, the county department of housing and homeless services.
(b) Each working group shall prepare and submit a report to the Legislature on its findings and recommendations regarding the implementation of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 5450). The report shall be submitted to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2023, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
5556.
 This article shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2024, and as of that date is repealed.
SEC. 3.
 The Legislature finds and declares that a special statute is necessary and that a general statute cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of the unique circumstances of the County of Los Angeles and the City and County of San Francisco.