Justice Services Services


Assisted Outpatient Treatment

Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment for individuals with serious mental illness who are unable to live safely in the community, but who refuse to participate in treatment on their own. The law that allows court-ordered treatment is sometimes called “Laura’s Law”. SLO Behavioral Health’s AOT program started in March, 2016, and is funded by the Mental Health Services Act.

AOT Program:
SLO Behavioral Health staff provide assessment, program support and coordination with the court. Services offered to AOT clients include:

  • Co-Occurring treatment to address both mental health and substance use disorder needs
  • Rehabilitation services to assist clients in learning and utilizing skills to improve self-care, social support system, and health
  • Intensive case management to support clients in accessing housing, financial, vocational, health care, and social support services, including voluntary mental health services

Behavioral Health Community Action Team

The Behavioral Health Community Action Team (BHCAT) is a partnership with the Sheriff's Office and is a co-responder model that provides proactive outreach, engagement, screening and assessment for early identification of people with mental illness or substance use issues, to encourage them to join treatment and other services, prior to or in lieu of arrest. The grant funded program began February 1, 2019. BHCAT has a goal to encounter and engage 600 individual contacts in the field and warmly hand-off 60 individuals for treatment in each year of the grant's duration. 

This Behavioral Health Community Action Team (BHCAT) is funded through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Early Diversion Grant. The County received one of seven national awards. This is a five-year grant with $1.6 million awarded to the County. The grant supports the County's "Stepping Up Initiative" to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. 

For more information, please contact Teresa Pemberton, Division Manager for Behavioral Health, at 805-781-4997, [email protected]

Behavioral Health Treatment Court

This service provides treatment opportunities for individuals who have behavioral health needs and have become involved in the criminal justice system. Upon successful completion individuals, depending criminal charges, may have their probation terminated early. Individuals will need to be on formal probation and have a minimum of one year remaining on probation to participate in this treatment court. Services include, case management, therapy, psychiatrist visits and medication management. 

Court Screening

Behavioral Health clinician provides treatment screenings in the San Luis Obispo Court house. Screenings provide treatment referral options, level of care recommendations, and treatment court referrals. Referrals consist of treatment referrals for the following services:


Court Screening Appointment Process

  • Screening appointments for clients will be made by the persons attorney through email to the Justice Services office using the appropriate referral form
  • Referral form required: Paper or electronic fillable form may be used. The form encompasses the information needed to provide a court screening. 
  • Send screening form to [email protected] for a screening appointment
    • Requires name of Court room, defense counsel, DDA
    • Client contract information including date of birth
  • Justice Services office will schedule the appointment
    • In custody referrals will be sent to the screeners for time slots at the jail
    • Out of custody referrals will be contacted within 24 hours with a screening time (zoom or in-person). Zoom link or appointment location will be provided at the time the appointment is made. 
  • At the time appointments are made Justice Services will collect releases to disclose the outcome of the screening to the court involved entities (including Probation) and release to talk to potential housing options if this will be needed at determination. 

Referral Form Link

Justice Services Treatment

The co-occuring services in the Justice Services division provide court mandated treatment to adults (18 years and older) who are experiencing mental health and/or substance use disorders. 

Mandated treatment court services include:

  • Screening
  • Assessment
  • Treatment Planning
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication Services
  • Psychiatry
  • Case Management

Other programs include:

Mental Health Diversion Court (MHDC)

The San Luis Obispo mental health diversion court is a pre-plea program that is designed to educate and promote the understanding of healing and wellness by providing an integrated treatment program. This program addresses the impact of mental health as well as substance abuse issues on the individual, family, and community by providing intensive outpatient treatment to support and encourage the client to make permanent healthy and positive changes by establishing a recovery-based lifestyle. 

Who can use this service?

Individuals who are interested in this pre-plea program should have their attorney request Mental Health Diversion (MHDC) at their court hearing. The court will request a screening for the program and a judge will make determination if an individual meets the criteria. 

Treatment Courts (ATCC)

An intensive outpatient behavioral health program that meets the clients' need for substance abuse treatment, mental health wellness, and reduction of traumatic symptoms. 

Using evidence-based recovery classes in conjunction with effective ancillary programs, ATCC provides clients with a holistic treatment model to fit their unique and individual needs. 

Who can use this service?

Anyone can use this service who has a substance use disorder and criminal justice involvement that is in need of assistance. Program participants must have a substance use disorder and mild to moderate mental health disorder. Participants must be 18 years of age and on formal probation with a minimum of a year left on probation.