San Diego County To File Lawsuit Against State Seeking Funding for Mental Health Services, Other Programs
San Diego County on Tuesday will file two lawsuits against the state pertaining to money spent on social services, including one that asks that the county "be relieved" from funding mental health services for students, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Under that lawsuit, which will be filed in Sacramento Superior Court, San Diego County will ask the state to assume responsibility or provide funding for the mental health services program. According to Dianne Jacob, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, if the county wins the lawsuit, the state will not be able to eliminate the program because federal law requires that the services be provided. County Counsel John Sansone said that the provision of mental health services is the most expensive mandate for the county. The county spends between $8 million and $9 million each year to provide assessment, counseling and residential treatment services to about 2,400 special education students.
The other lawsuit will be filed in San Diego Superior Court and asks that the state be required to reimburse the county $31 million that it has spent to provide required social services. Both lawsuits allege that the state violated the California constitution by not providing funding for state-mandated programs, such as one to provide legal representation to people with developmental disabilities. According to the Union-Tribune, the lawsuits "are expected to have statewide implications, with other counties likely to join."
The county Board of Supervisors last month voted unanimously to proceed with the lawsuits, but it did not announce its decision until Monday. "These lawsuits are the last resort," Jacob said, adding, "We can no longer afford to pay the state's bills." Steven Szalay, executive director of the California State Association of Counties, said that he supports the lawsuits. The Union-Tribune reports that the governor's office "did not return a call seeking comment" (Gao, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.