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.