Members of the California Assembly and Senate joined together yesterday in a bi-partisan effort to pass legislation that provide mental and behavioral support to homeless veterans, foster youth, students in school settings and law enforcement personnel engaging persons in mental or behavioral heath crisis.
Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas has authored AB 1299, which would provide a continuum of mental health care to foster youth whenever their residency changes from one county to another.
“Children and young people in our foster care system that need and depend on mental and behavioral health treatment and therapy should not be allowed to fall through the cracks of our county mental health care system by virtue of their home address. When foster youth move to a new residence, their mental and behavioral care and services should follow them to their new home,” Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas said.
Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas joined Senators Jim Beall, Andy Vidak and Assembly Members Rocky Chavez, Kevin Mullin, Jim Cooper, Ling Ling Chang, Marc Levine, Brian Maienschein and Katcho Achadjian in highlighting the need to pass major mental and behavioral health bill this year. The mental and behavioral health legislative initiative is strongly supported by the Sacramento-based Steinberg Institute founded by former Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas praised two bills by Senator Beall that would provide an additional 20-hours of training to peace officers so they can properly recognize when a person they encounter is undergoing a mental health crisis and can utilize proven training techniques to de-escalate mental health crisis situations.
In July 2014, Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas’ Select Committee on Mental and Behavioral Health held a special hearing in Los Angeles on police officer interactions with mentally ill persons following a violent interaction between a female pedestrian walking adjacent to a freeway and a California Highway patrolman.
CHP Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow, LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, L.A. County Assistant Sheriff Teri McDonald and Robert Stresak, executive director of the California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) testified at the select committee hearing on the need for additional social service resources and police behavioral health training to address the current law enforcement procedures and policies used by police agencies in circumstances involving mentally ill persons.