The Pathways Program is a mental health court that was established in 2006 and is a collaborative effort among different County departments including the  San Mateo County Court, Probation Department, the District Attorney's Office, the Private Defender Program, the Sheriff's OfficeCorrectional Health Services, and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS).

The goal of the Pathways Program is to avoid incarceration for seriously mentally ill individuals who have significant impairments and help them to live more successfully in the community. Applicants who are eligible are admitted after they enter a guilty or no contest plea, but prior to sentencing on their charges.

Program eligibility criteria include:
  • Statutorily eligibility for probation
  • Resident of San Mateo County
  • Axis I diagnosis of a serious mental illness diagnosis that is not substance induced and significantly impairs their ability to function
  • Voluntarily agree to participate in the Pathways Program
  • Treatment plan and medication services
  • Housing plan and supportive services
  • Employment, education or community services support
  • Dual diagnosis treatment and recovery support
  • Psycho-educational/recovery services
  • Case management services (including assistance linking clients to health care)
  • Peer support/mentoring services
  • Family support services
  • Pro-social activities and events
Pathways Special Court-Ordered Conditions

Unpon admission into Pathways, the Judge will impose a probation sentence with standard terms and conditions. The Judge will also order the specific program conditions listed below:

  • Defendant is accepted into the Pathways Program;
  • Defendant to participate in and complete a Pathways Treatment Plan as directed;
  • Defendant shall take all prescribed medications;
  • Participate in psychiatric counseling;
  • Defendant shall participate in treatment or counseling as directed by a Deputy Probation Officer;
  • Defendant to show proof of compliance to probation conditions as ordered;
  • Fines and fees are stayed pending successful completion of the Pathways Program.
Medication Compliance

Medication compliance is a significant component of Pathways and is a requirement of the participant.  Working closely with BHRS and the client’s medical treatment team is an essential part of the assignment.  Efforts must be made to ensure that the participant is complying with taking all prescribed medication.

AOD and Housing

Pathways relies on community resources to assist in the treatment of our clients.  This could range from their medical treatment provider, outpatient drug and alcohol treatment, a social rehabilitation program or the field crisis meeting. 

During the assessment period, defendants are assessed via an American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Assessment which is administered through BHRS to determine appropriate level of addiction treatment intervention.

Program Events

There are two annual events that are hosted by the Pathways Program.  The Pathways Picnic is typically held at the beginning of summer and the Pathways Holiday Party is held mid-November at Red Morton Park in Redwood City.  The events offer an opportunity for participants to engage with each other and program staff in a prosocial environment.  All current participants and past graduates are strongly encouraged to attend.  Current and past Pathways team members are invited as well as other important guests and community partners.  The Pathways team forms a small committee month in advance to plan and execute the events which include providing transportation, a nice meal, games, prizes, and achievement awards.

Additional Resources:
Psychiatric Emergency Services 650-573-2662
Suicide Prevention 800-784-2433
StarVista 24-hour Crisis Line 650-579-0350
StarVista 24-hour Alcohol & Drug Helpline 650-573-3950
StarVista 24-hour Parent Support Line 650-579-0358
ACCESS/Dual Diagnosis Tram 800-686-0101
Consumer Self Help Program 650-343-8760
Patient's Rights Advocates 800-497-1889
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 650-638-0800
California State Department of Mental Health 916-322-7445
SMC Connect
Disabilities Benefits 101
Network of Care
Disability Rights California
United Advocates for Children and Families


If you have questions about a court case, contact the San Mateo County Courts.

If you want to know which Deputy Probation Officer is assigned to your adult case, call (650) 363-4244.