New Program Involves Court-Ordered Mental Health Treatment

The Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act is set to begin in Riverside County October 2nd 2023.

The CARE Act is a new state law that came out of Senate Bill 1338.  It is meant to address and treat those with severe mental health and substance abuse disorders by allowing the court to order the county to provide behavioral health treatment in community-based settings.

Riverside County is in the first group of counties to implement the CARE Act along with the counties of Glenn, Orange, San Diego, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and San Francisco.

The goal of the CARE Act program is to prevent those with severe mental health disorders from entering more restrictive conservatorships or incarceration. At the same time, voluntary treatment is always available and preferred to seeking court-ordered treatment options.

The CARE Act is a new civil court process that will be collaborative in nature, whereby multiple agencies will work together to provide personalized treatment plans and community-based support services to those that qualify. In Riverside County, CARE Act cases will be part of the probate division of the Superior Court.

Individuals can be referred into the program by a variety of persons, the most typical being a family member, first responder or service provider. The process can start by calling the Riverside University Health System-Behavior Health CARES Line at 800-499-3008. In addition, petitions to Commence CARE Act Proceedings can be filed at any Riverside County Court location, starting October 2, 2023. Petitions may also be electronically filed free of charge via the court’s eSubmit system.

The CARE Act proceedings will be heard in Department 12 of the Riverside Historic Courthouse, located at 4050 Main Street, Riverside, California, with remote appearances available, Monday through Friday at 1:30 p.m.  It should be noted that CARE Act proceedings are confidential and not open to the public.

Riverside County residents who need more information about the CARE Act can call the:

  • Court’s Self-Help Legal Services at (951) 274-4499 or (760) 393-2163, or
  • County’s CARES Line at (800) 499-3008, or


One hand, reaching for another hand, to symbolize ‘a helping hand’

Photo from Riverside County Executive Office