CARE Act Petitions Now Accepted in San Diego Superior Court

Oct 02, 2023
Court Services Update

The Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act Program is now active in San Diego County as one of the first seven counties in the state to implement the CARE Act, effective October 1, 2023. The CARE Act was written into law through Senate Bill 1338, which added Welfare & Institutions Code Sections 5970 – 5987 and sets out the general provisions, process, and additional details for the implementation of the CARE Act.

The CARE Act is a way to allow specific people, called “petitioners,” to request voluntary treatment, services, support, and a housing plan for people, called “respondents,” who have certain untreated severe mental illnesses, specifically schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder.

As of Monday, October 2, CARE Act petitions are accepted at the San Diego Superior Court’s Central Courthouse and branch courthouses. All CARE Act cases will be assigned to the Central Division, regardless of where the petition was filed.

There is no fee required to file a Petition for CARE Act proceedings. The San Diego Superior Court CARE Act webpage has links to information packets for petitioners (individuals or agency representatives looking to initiate a court proceeding under the CARE Act requirements) and for respondents (the individuals who are the subject of a CARE Act petition). CARE Act petitions, reports and hearings are confidential.

CARE Act proceedings involve assessments and court hearings to determine whether the respondent meets eligibility requirements. The County of San Diego's Behavioral Health Services department is involved in the process. If the respondent meets the standards for CARE eligibility, a CARE agreement or plan may be created and, if approved, ordered by the court.

The self-help center at the Hall of Justice is nearing the completion of a remodel and will return to its usual location on the second floor of the Hall of Justice on Monday, October 9. In the meantime, assistance is available from an alternate room at the Hall of Justice. The self-help center can provide both petitioners and respondents with answers to questions concerning the CARE Act process, forms and legal options.

For more information on CARE Act proceedings in the San Diego Superior Court, links to forms, frequently asked questions and other resources, please visit