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 outreach, 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

For Brochure, Click here

Behavioral Health Community Action Team

The Behavioral Health Community Action Team (BHCAT) is a partnership with the Sheriff's Office, Paso Robles Police Department and the Atascadero Police Department.  Behavioral Health staff are paired with a law enforcement officer with specific mental health training.  The provide crisis interventions as well as outreach and engagement for people with mental illness or substance use issues. The CATs team are committed to connecting individuals to treatment and other services in lieu of arrest. The program was initially funded through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Early Diversion Grant in 2019. Based on the success of the program it has been continued beyond the grant and is funded through MHSA.   


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. 

CARE court

Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act Court

On December 1st, San Luis Obispo will launch CARE Court. This state-mandated court is designed to get people with mental health and substance abuse disorders the support and care they need. CARE Court will help community members who have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders. 

Care Court


  • A new civil court process designed to link individuals who have Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders to county behavioral health services, under the oversight of a judge, for up to 24 consecutive months
  • Includes a clinically-indicated, individualized treatment plan, with supportive services and a dedicated team
  • Housing resources are included in CARE and will be identified based on the participants needs
  • Meant as a diversion process to prevent hospitalization, conservatorship or incarceration

CARE court:

  • Is NOT a criminal court
  • Does NOT include persons with any/all mental health conditions
  • CAN NOT issue involuntary medication orders

For more information see:  CARE Court A New Framework for Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment—FAQ

CARE Court Treatment Services 

San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health staff provide outreach and engagement, assessment, treatment and coordination with court hearings. Treatment services for court ordered CARE participants will include:

  • Outreach and engagement to encourage voluntary treatment
  • Mental Health Assessments 
  • Individualized treatment plan (provided to the court)
  • Psychiatrist appointments 
  • Identify housing resources (as needed)
  • Intensive 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

Where to begin

The CARE Court process starts with a petition being filed with the San Luis Obispo Superior Court, Civil Division (after the 12/1/2024 launch). Once a petition is approved by the court, County Behavioral Health is present in all court hearings and will provide mental health outreach, assessments and treatment. 

There are many helpful websites to assist with the CARE process, see below. 



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 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. For a period no longer than two years, defendants who are suffering from a mental health disorder and approved for the program are allowed to undergo mental health treatment and support in order to make permanent healthy and positive changes and establish a recovery-based lifestyle.

You can view the participant handbook here

Co-occurring 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.