AB 1425: Community Living Support Services Bill to be
Signed by Governor Davis.
By Susan Rajlal
Anne Sippi Clinic
staff Susan Rajlal, our CAO, and Darlene Prettyman, our Director of Governmental
Affairs, are wearing very big smiles these days because the bill that they
sponsored with assemblywoman Helen Thomson has passed through both the
California Assembly and California Senate. The bill is in line for Governor
Davis's approval and will be signed into law by October 15, 2002. This bill will
codify the right of persons with mental disabilities to live independently and
receive support services in their home environment.
Rose King, of
Assemblywoman Thompson's office, worked tirelessly with Ms. Rajlal and Ms.
Prettyman for two years to create the language in the bill and to build support
with stakeholders throughout California. AB 1425 defines community living
support services as those services that are voluntarily chosen by the disabled
individual that will further that individual's goal of gaining greater
independence. The disabled person may live in his or her own home and receive
support services designed to develop and improve independent living and
problem-solving skills. Previously, numerous individuals who were living in
their homes while struggling with their mental illness were denied mental health
services. The community living support services may include education and
training in the following areas: meal planning, shopping, and budgeting skills;
the management of finances, medication, and transportation; vocational and
educational development; and the appropriate use of community resources and
leisure activities. The services may also include assistance with making
arrangements to meet the individual's basic needs such as obtaining financial
benefits, clothing, housing, and locating and scheduling appropriate medical,
dental, and vision services.
AB 1425 is a big step in bringing the state
of California in compliance with the Olmstead Act (that is based on a Supreme
Court decision to preserve a person's right to receive mental health services
within their home environment). AB 1425 was supported by NAMI - California,
California Mental Health Directors Association, California Association of
Marriage and Family Therapists, National Association of Social Workers,
California Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the Republican
Caucus, and the California Mental Health Association.