Group Home and Assisted Living Legislation

Evelyn Flenon was a resident at a United Cerebral Palsy Group Home (now known as United Community Connection) when she was abused by caregivers, of which were prosecuted with time suspended.  See: Case #1 & Case #2

During this heartbreaking journey, we found several basic systems that did not protect Evelyn or others like her:

  • Direct hands-on caregivers are not always required to be certified nursing assistants
  • There is no system in place to immediately protect Evelyn or others like her from a convicted abuser that is employed at multiple locations as an uncertified or unlicensed caregiver when convicted
  • Once a complaint is made to government agencies, the system does not always enforce the regulation that the complainant  is responded to regarding the outcome of the complaint prior to it being closed

We are asking for help advocating that group home and assisted living caregivers…

  1. Have proper training and certifications. Direct hands-on caregivers should, at minimum, have a certification as a nursing assistant.
  2. Have background checks with a “Rap Back” (Report of Arrests and Prosecutions).  This will ensure, if a caregiver is convicted, that all of their employers that completed an initial FBI background check is notified of the conviction.

We know this will help decrease instances of neglect and abuse in group homes and assisted living facilities.  Improve and enhance the care that is provided to the vulnerable by requiring a minimum certification that focuses on hands-on care, prior to employees being allowed to provide care to a vulnerable adult or person that is developmentally disabled. To accomplish this we are pushing for the following law:

Evelyn’s Law

Objective: Decrease and discourage resident abuse and neglect in group homes and assisted living centers for senior adults and for citizens both  young and old that are developmentally disabled.

Recommended Changes

Proposed Regulation (1 of 3): Require uniform certification for all hands-on caregivers.

Assisted living and group homes for senior adults and the disabled that receive federal and/or state funding must require direct caregivers to, at minimum, be a certified nursing assistant.

Present Regulations:

Current regulations do not require for all hands-on caregivers to be certified.  This lack of regulations for facilities, that receive state and federal funding, is alarming. Under trained and uncertified people are taking care of thousands who are helpless to defend themselves or even speak out against their abusers. Caregivers are at a disadvantage and often do not know how to handle  providing proper care to seniors and to those that are developmentally disabled, this often leads to abuse.  If a caregiver does not hold any type of certification and is fired for neglect or abuse they cannot be tracked by the current system. Experience shows that workers who receive training prior to performing direct care have a higher success rate in fulfilling their responsibilities than those with no experience, training or certifications.  At present, an employee can start work as a direct caregiver and be trained on the job, at the expense of our loved ones care.

The lack of training fosters abuse and neglect.  Caregivers often become frustrated and make detrimental decisions that result in abuse and neglect.  In addition, this is “just a job” to many that are not trained to understand the complexity of their responsibilities.  Since many neglect and abuse cases go unreported and are not prosecuted, this epidemic can be considered a silent killer.

Uniform training will support caregivers by ensuring they know how to work and support our seniors and developmental disabled in a professional, caring, and ethical manner. Direct caregivers in hospitals and nursing homes are required to be, at minimum, certified nursing assistants. Residents in assistant living and group home facilities for seniors and the developmentally disabled deserve to be cared for by staff with the same level of training. Taxpayer dollars should not support facilities with uncertified caregivers.

It is important to note, since many caregivers in this particular industry work multiple jobs, they can easily continue their employment at one group home or assisted living facility, even after being terminated for abuse or neglect at another location. Since they are not certified, the board of nursing does not have a standardize database that any agency have to report egregious acts.

Proposed Regulation (2 of 3): Criminal Background Checks with a Rap-back (after the initial check a Rap-back feature would notify employers of criminal activity without them having to run future background checks) FOR MORE INFORMATION – LINK TO RAP BACK WEBSITE

Present Regulations: 

Assisted living and group homes for seniors and the developmentally disabled presently are only required to have a background check completed on new hires, without a Rap-back. It is on their honor that convicted criminals share their conviction(s) with employers.

There have been situations where an individual worked for a company, went to court that morning and was convicted of abuse and neglect, then went back to work that evening and continued to work with vulnerable adults, sometimes in their home alone. Without a Rap-back, the second employer did not know for almost a year that they were sending a criminal to care for vulnerable adults, mostly unsupervised.

Proposed Regulation (3 of 3): Federal and state agencies that investigate abuse and neglect should be mandated and forced to respond to the complainant/resident/resident representative.

Present Regulation: 

Abuse and neglect complaints registered with organizations that monitor compliance are not mandated and forced to contact the complainant for closing comments prior to concluding the complaint.

They are not required and enforced to provide a written response to the complainant.

Group Home Abuse & Neglect Must Stop

Our seniors and developmental disabled citizens are being abused and neglected with our tax dollars. Some are even dying at the hands of unskilled workers.

Please assist the Flenon Family in enacting Evelyn’s Law.  The relevant COMAR Regulations that Evelyn’s law would effectuate change in are:

  • assisted living,  group home, and individuals with developmental disabilities regulations are under COMAR 10.07.14.
  • Residential, day & vocational program regulations for individuals with developmental disabilities are in COMAR 10.22, residential programs for children with developmental disabilities also must comply with COMAR 14.31.06