SACRAMENTO, CA, January 10, 2022The California State Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians, and Public Conservators expressed deep dismay that Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget fails to provide any support to the county workers tasked with caring for the most vulnerable Californians in the midst of a growing crisis of homelessness across the state.  Public guardians and conservators are the only state safety net program that receives no state funding, despite various state reforms that have pushed their caseloads higher; the result is a system on the brink of crisis. 

“California’s public guardian and conservatorship programs are at a breaking point, just as the state is calling upon our county professionals to bolster support for a growing number of Californians who are unhoused, referred from diversion programs, found mentally incompetent to stand trial or who are at risk for physcial abuse and/or financial exploitation due to cognitive difficulties. The number of vulnerable people who need our help has grown by more than a third in recent years and our caseloads are already 63% beyond maximum capacity.  It is extremely disappointing that zero dollars from California’s $45.7 billion surplus have been set aside to support people in our communities who are in imminent risk of harm without our help,” said Scarlet Hughes, Executive Director, California State Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians, and Public Conservators. “We urgently need the state’s financial partnership as we work to serve those who because of serious mental illness, or cognitive disability are unable to provide for their own basic needs — and who, without assistance, are at serious risk of injury to themselves or others.

“We look forward to working with the Governor and legislative leaders to secure $200M annually – on top of county spending – to help ensure that our crucial safety net programs have the resources necessary to support the needs of Californians who are counting on us.” 

The California Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians, and Public Conservators (CA PA|PG|PC) is a non-profit association representing government officials and employees who provide services to the citizens of California through the Public Administrator, Public Guardian and Public Conservator offices in each of California’s 58 counties. These agencies act as the legal guardian or conservator of older and dependent adult Californians who are no longer able to act in their own best interest, resist undue influence, or are gravely disabled as a result of a psychiatric or cognitive disorder. The agencies also act as the personal representative for decedent estates for whom there is no other person willing or able to act.