Legislation Sponsored By Senator Saland To Extend Kendra’s Law Passes The Senate

Stephen M. Saland

March 26, 2009

Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that legislation (S.5876) he has sponsored together with Senator Morahan, Chair, Mental Health and Development Disabilities Committee has passed the Senate. The legislation extends the expiration of Kendra’s law until June 30, 2010 and makes changes to the assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) program.

The present law authorizing the AOT program was set to expire on June 30, 2005. In addition to extending these provisions this bill would more effectively allow families and caregivers to be appropriately engaged in the AOT process and make those responsible for the implementation of the program further accountable.

Since Kendra’s law was first implemented, nearly 11,000 individuals have been referred to local AOT coordinators for the purpose of determining their potential eligibility for court-ordered treatment. Court orders have been issued for more than 4,100 of those referred.

The bill requires that program and fiscal data related to the program be provided to the Governor and the Legislature on an annual basis. Further, the Office of Mental Health would develop a mental health training program for judges and court officials.

"This legislation has proven to be very effective in treating those who suffer from mental illness and require close supervision," said Senator Saland. "The bill would extend this successful program and further improve the delivery of these vital services."

The bill has passed the Assembly and will next go to the Governor.