Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Frances Edwards


In May 2008, Nevada County became the first county in California to fully implement an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program under the guidelines established by Assembly Bill 1421 (Keller, 2011). The Assisted Outpatient Treatment Demonstration Project Act of 2002, more commonly known as “Laura’s Law”, established guidelines for the court ordering of treatment for persons incapacitated by a mental disorder (California Department of Mental Health [CA DMH], 2003).

Passed in September 2002, the bill was highly controversial leading up to its passage and remains a very divisive issue today (Fagan, 2010). This paper will focus on the provisions of the law, its advantages, disadvantages, and potential for strengthening mental health service delivery in California. It will also examine the actions taken by Nevada County in their successful implementation of the law which can serve as a role model for other counties seeking options for assisting untreated, mentally ill individuals in their communities.