Bakersfield, Calif. (KGET) – Governor Newsom’s plan for a new civil court process, called “CARE Court,” is now law and is a part of a massive push to address homelessness.

The CARE Court program kicked off in seven counties this week including Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and San Francisco. However, Kern County Superior Court Public Affairs Officer Kristin Davis said Kern could see it implemented around the summer of 2024.

“We’re hoping that we can learn from some of those counties on what works and what doesn’t as we prepare our program and as our team works to put that together on our end,” Davis said.

The program focuses on people with psychotic disorders who lack medical decision-making capacity. Making it easier for judges to move people with mental illnesses off of the street and into treatment programs and into housing. It also allows family members, first responders and behavioral health professionals to file petitions on behalf of people who they believe pose a threat to themselves or others.

The program has been met with some opposition, but the Mission at Kern County’s Carlos Baldovinos says he sees the benefits of the system.

“I see it. I feel sorry as a human, as one human to another, my heart breaks just watching those individuals out there walking around aimlessly potentially hurting themselves and potentially killing themselves who knows? I mean being out there on the streets like that the life expectancy for someone out there is not great,” Baldovinos said.

Baldovinos applauds the state for taking another step to address mental illness and homelessness.

“I think the state, they’re recognizing it, they’re seeing it, I mean it’s in Sacramento they have a front-row seat to it there as well. I do think it is something that has to be addressed, we cannot keep waiting year after year, action has to happen,” Baldovinos said.

For more information on the CARE Court system, click here.