Combatting Institutionalization In California in the Face of The Care Act and Other Recent Legislation

Sarah J. Gregory, J.D.

For years, California has failed to adequately invest in robust community-based mental health systems and accessible, affordable housing. As a result, people cannot voluntarily get access to the care and housing that they want and need to thrive. Instead of investing in services that work, the State of California has recently enacted several laws that make it easier to institutionalize people, including the Care Act, SB 43, and Proposition 1. These new laws will undermine efforts to build healthy communities and will disproportionately harm people with disabilities, particularly those who are Black and Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+. Disability Rights California has been at the forefront of the backlash against California’s efforts to expand forced treatment. This keynote will present some of the ways that DRC has joined the fight against unnecessary institutionalization, including fighting against harmful legislation, working in coalitions, and using our access authority and litigation to divest from institutions and expand community services.