The Court Ordered Assisted Outpatient Treatment

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Kendra’s Law is designed to provide court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) for certain people with a mental illness who, in view of their treatment history and present circumstances, are unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision (Office of Mental Health) (OMH, 2012). On August 9, 1999 the Governor signed Kendra’s Law which created a statutory framework for court-ordered AOT (OMH, 2012). The law is named after an incident that occurred in a New York City subway station in January, 1999. Kendra Webdale, a young aspiring writer, was pushed in front of an oncoming train by a man with a history of mental illness (i.e. schizophrenia) and hospitalizations who failed to take his prescribed medications (Corrigan, Mueser, Bond, Drake, & Solomon, 2008; OMH, 2012; Worthington, 2009). Webdale was one of the three to five percent of victims of violent crime by a mentally ill individual (Worthington, 2009). Kendra’s Law established a procedure for obtaining court orders for individuals with a mental illness to receive AOT who respond well to a structured environment (e.g. hospitalization, or assisted living) but, struggle to maintain stabilization while out in the community. In addition, clients can voluntarily enroll in AOT, also known as, diversion. The AOT provisions of Mental Hygiene Law section § 9.60 were designed to identify at-risk individuals using specific eligibility criteria to assess whether court-order outpatient treatment is required.
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