LANSING – State Representative Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) recently introduced House Bill 4349 to require all facilities acting as a group home or adult foster care facility to be licensed with the state. Adult foster care facilities provide care for those adults who need supervision on an ongoing basis but do not need continuous nursing care. Those that provide only some services to this population do not have to be licensed.

“Adults living in foster care facilities are some of our most vulnerable citizens, and we are failing many of them because some of these facilities are exempt from state licensing,” said Yanez. “We’ve all heard horror stories of vulnerable and elderly adults being mistreated in some of these homes. We need to change the law so that all facilities offering any services are licensed and subject to the same requirements to protect their residents.”

Currently, any adult foster care facility must be licensed if it provides personal care, supervision and protection in addition to room and board to 20 unrelated persons who are aged, mentally ill, developmentally disabled or physically disabled for 24 hours a day, five or more days a week for two or more consecutive weeks for compensation. The loophole exists when a business entity owning the home provides some, but not all, of these services, and then contracts out the services, such as personal care, to a separate entity. In that case, neither entity requires licensure.

Yanez’s bill would close this loophole and require these facilities to also be licensed. By wrapping these facilities into the current law, they would also have to adhere to other requirements including criminal background checks on employees and employers, evaluation of the qualifications of applicants, on-site inspections without prior notice and financial disclosure of stakeholders. Last year, a Genesee County woman was arrested when evidence of problems including neglect, distribution of expired medications, and allegations of health care fraud were found at her five unlicensed adult foster care facilities.

“The way this law is written now, there is no easy way for a family member to know if they are putting their loved one into a licensed home that is run well and inspected by the state,” said Yanez. “Closing this loophole and simply licensing all adult foster care facilities will make it easier on families, and easier for state officials to find the bad actors and intervene to make sure that vulnerable adults are well-cared for.”