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Adult group home reforms proposed

Published (3/2/2012)
By Sue Hegarty
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The Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota, an association of 150 providers supporting people with disabilities, is suggesting several legislative changes to the adult foster care program and services for persons with disabilities.

ARRM’s recommendations are part of its “Blueprint for Reform” and can be found in HF1979, sponsored by Rep. Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne). The House Health and Human Services Reform Committee approved the bill as amended Feb. 29 and referred it to the House Government Operations and Elections Committee.

Provisions include:

• developing an optional certification for adult foster care homes that serve persons with mental illness;

• establishing a task force to review and make recommendations on pilot projects for home and community-based services for people with disabilities; and

• allowing foster care homes to care for clients temporarily in “respite care” when regular clients are away from the home for a period of time.

Julie Ring, policy analyst for the Association of Minnesota Counties, said the AMC supports the concept of a task force but would like to see more county representation, such as one metropolitan and one rural representative.

Alice Hulbert, the parent of an adult with disabilities who lives in a group home she owns and leases to a provider, opposed several of the proposed provisions. She said some of the reforms would loosen licensing regulations and may result in a lower quality of care.

Sen. Scott Nienow (R-Cambridge) sponsors SF1699, a companion bill that awaits action by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

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