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Today, we join the California Alliance of Child and Family Services and others in applauding Governor Gavin Newsom for signing SB 803 (Beall). SB 803 will enable California to expand the behavioral health workforce by allowing certification of Peer Support Specialists. With the passage of SB 803, California will now be in line with the 48 other states that already recognize peers’ value. We were proud to be on the Zoom-signing with the Governor.

“The pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on the behavioral health needs of Californians, and we must use every resource we have to address this crisis. With the passage of SB 803, we can focus on diversifying and strengthening our behavioral health workforce,” said Christine Stoner-Mertz, CEO of The California Alliance for Child and Family Services. “The California Alliance thanks Senator Jim Beall for his steadfast leadership in working tirelessly to improve the behavioral health system within our state, and we commend Governor Gavin Newsom for signing SB 803.”

“With the signing of SB 803, California can engage Peer Support Specialists as a critical part of the behavioral health workforce,” said Jessica Cruz, CEO of NAMI California. “As we continue to face the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, California will now be ready to utilize the unique role that peers and families play in our state’s behavioral health recovery. NAMI California thanks Governor Gavin Newsom for recognizing the true power of Peer Support Specialists by signing SB 803.”

“Peer support services are an evidence-based, cost-effective model of care proven to reduce cost and increase participation in treatment. Forty-Eight other states have seen the benefit and value of peer support services; now it is time for California to catch up and establish a peer support specialist certification process,” said Senator Jim Beall, author of the bill, in a statement.“I’m thrilled to say that in California, we will have a statewide scope of practice, standardized curriculum, training and supervision standards, and certification protocol for peer support services. Our coalition of advocates and bi-partisan supporters rallied for Peer Support for years. It’s time to celebrate our progress and the next generation by continuing to advocate for mental health at the State level… and yes, third time’s a charm!”

Additional bills signed today:

  • AB 1976 by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) – Mental health services: assisted outpatient treatment.
  • AB 2265 by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) – Mental Health Services Act: use of funds for substance use disorder treatment
  • SB 855 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) – Health coverage: mental health or substance use disorders
  • AB 465 Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) – Mental health workers: supervision.
  • AB 1544 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) – Community Paramedicine or Triage to Alternate Destination Act.
  • AB 1766 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) – Licensed adult residential facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly: data collection: residents with a serious mental disorder.
  • AB 1979 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) – Foster youth: housing.
  • AB 2112 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) – Suicide prevention. A signing message can be found here.
  • AB 2174 by Assemblymember James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) – Homeless multidisciplinary personnel teams.
  • AB 2275 by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood) – State armories: homeless shelters: security.
  • AB 2377 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) – Residential facilities.
  • AB 2553 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) – Shelter crisis declarations.
  • AB 2960 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) – Shelter crises: fire and life safety standards.
  • AB 3242 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) – Mental health: involuntary commitment.
  • SB 1065 by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) – CalWORKs: homeless assistance.