California Health and Human Services

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CARE Act Petitions

CARE petitions may be filed in the counties of Glenn, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne.

Petitions must be filed in the county in which the respondent resides, is found, or is facing criminal or civil proceedings. Petitions may not be filed in any of the remaining 50 counties until their implementation date of December 1, 2024.

Petition Process Overview

  • Petitioners must fill out the required forms posted on the Judicial Council website, and petitions may be submitted to courts listed in the CARE Court locations file.
  • When filing a petition, proof of eligibility must be submitted in the form of a Mental Health Declaration (Form CARE-101) and/or evidence that the respondent was detained for at least two periods of intensive treatment, with the most recent period being within the past 60 days.
  • Once a petition is filed and reviewed, if the court finds upon initial examination that the petition shows the respondent is, or may be, eligible, the court will either set an initial appearance within 14 days if the petition was filed by a county behavioral health agency or order a county behavioral health agency to investigate if they were not the petitioner. If the court finds that the petition does not show upon initial examination that the respondent is, or may be, eligible, the court may dismiss the case.

Petition Forms:

The following resources provide information on CARE eligibility criteria, CARE process, and assist with the successful completion and filing of petitions. If eligibility criteria is not met or you are interested in alternatives to CARE proceedings, options can be discussed with your county behavioral health agency.

Find your local California Court Self-Help Center to get answers to questions and receive direct support with completing and filing a petition. Self-Help Centers can provide legal information and resources in-person, over the phone, or online to people without a lawyer.