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Primer: Conservatorship

02/08/2020 10:39 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

Editor’s note: Primer is an ongoing series of stories providing readers with background on an institution, law, issue or trend that impacts Santa Monica. To suggest a topic, email

The streets of Santa Monica are filled with homeless people in desperate need of housing and services, but only those with the most severe mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders can be forced into inpatient treatment.

The Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act, California’s guiding conservatorship law, allows an individual to be involuntarily confined and treated if they are a danger to themself, a danger to others or gravely disabled because of their mental illness. An individual is considered gravely disabled if they are unable to provide their own food, clothing or shelter, have no third party to help them meet those basic needs and are unwilling or unable to accept treatment.

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