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Sacramento Bee

May 7, 2010

Disability groups sue Sacramento County over proposed mental health cuts

By Cynthia Hubert

Disability rights groups have filed a class-action lawsuit in Sacramento federal court challenging the county's plan to cut outpatient programs for thousands of mental patients.

The suit was filed this morning in U.S. District Court by Disability Rights California and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. The plaintiffs named in the suit are five indigent residents of Sacramento County who currently get county mental health services that are on the chopping block. Named as defendants are Sacramento County, the Board of Supervisors and county officials responsible for administering outpatient mental health services.

The county has proposed terminating community treatment programs that service about 5,000 adults with severe, chronic mental illness as part of a plan to cut $17 million from its behavioral health budget.

"These service cuts are not only unlawful, but they threaten catastrophic harm to the most vulnerable members of our society," said Stuart Seaborn, managing attorney of Disability Rights California's Sacramento regional office.

For more, read tomorrow's Bee.