Working to transform the child welfare system.

SB 5720: Concerning the involuntary treatment act

Provisions of the bill include, but are not limited to:

Increases the initial detention period under the Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) from 72 hours to 120 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, beginning January 2021.

Interpreters in an involuntary commitment hearing may appear by video, unless the court on its own motion or for good cause requires all parties and witnesses to appear in person.The three-hour examination required when a person is held for investigation for detention under the ITA must be performed by a mental health professional or a chemical dependency professional.

Time limitations on continuances in ITA hearings are repealed. Involuntary commitment hearings may be continued for good cause or as required in the proper administration of justice, if the respondent consents or will not be substantially prejudiced. A requirement is repealed for a committed person to appear in person before the court to receive notice of a trial setting for a 90-day or 180-day involuntary treatment petition.

Modifies definitions of likelihood of serious harm, gravely disabled, and violent act. Expands single-bed certifications in 2026, to include patients detained due to a substance use disorder.

Various provisions from adult ITA are imported into minor ITA and applied to persons under eighteen years of age:

Joel’s Law, which provides specific procedures allowing a family member, guardian, or conservator of a person to appeal the decision of a DCR to not detain an individual for review in superior court; intent provisions emphasizing strong consideration of a prior behavioral health history during commitment decisions and a substantive provision that requires DCRs to consider information from all credible witnesses and to construe current symptoms and behavior in conjunction with historical behavior when analyzing grave disability; intent provisions instructing the courts to focus on the merits of involuntary commitment petitions except when procedural requirements have been totally disregarded, referencing the parens patrie and police powers of the state, and substantive provisions stating that dismissal is not the appropriate remedy for violations of certain timeliness requirements except where those requirements have been totally disregarded;

mandatory components of LRA treatment which must be provided by community behavioral health agencies to persons who are court-ordered to receive LRA treatment; authorization for a peace officer to take a person into custody and deliver them to an appropriate triage facility, crisis stabilization unit, E&T, secure detox, approved substance use disorder treatment program, or emergency department based on reasonable cause to believe the person is detainable under the ITA; authorization for a peace officer to detain a person who has been arrested for up to eight hours at an E&T, secure detox, or approved substance use disorder treatment program for consideration of admission to a treatment program instead of further criminal justice proceedings; the right to an inventory of possessions upon entry into involuntary detention, which must be provided to the detained person so that possessions may be safeguarded;a duty to warn or take reasonable precautions to protect others from violent behavior, which the facility may discharge by reasonable efforts to communicate the threat to a victim or victims and law enforcement personnel; and authorization for a facility to allow a person who is detained for treatment to leave the facility for temporary periods under appropriate conditions.