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Thread: Respite Care for Persons with Mental Retardation

  1. #1

    Respite Care for Persons with Mental Retardation

    I'm wondering about how other jurisdictions classify houses used to provide respite care for mentally retarded adults? I have a provider who wants it classified as a group residential facility (group home) which would be by-right in any dwelling. But the feedback I'm getting from above is that since the clients will have short stays, it's a hotel/motel which is not allowed in residential districts. Since mentally and physically handicapped persons get to have more unrelated people living together than "regular folks", and since our definition does not speak to length of stay, I'm of the opinion that it's a group residential facility and allowed in residential districts.

    Any thoughts? I'd appreciate hearing how others have dealt with this use.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    How is the state licensing the facility. In our area I beleive they would fall under the State's group home licensing and would be permitted by right if 8 beds or less.

    Watch out for the Fair Housing Act if you try to treat is as a hotel / motel.

  3. #3
    Four of the beds are licensed by the State as a group home, the other 4 are licensed as respite care with up to 21 day stays (but which may be extended).

    Previously we've deemed emergency diagnostic facilities for emotionally disturbed kids with maximum stays up to 60 days to be group homes. This ruling was upheld in Circuit Court.

    But, for some reason, the idea of a short stay (less than 30 days) for mentally retarded adults kicks it out of the group home classification. I figure that the very fact that they are disabled grants them the right to occupy a dwelling, but allows them to do so outside the limitations that govern non-disabled residents (up to 8 unrelated residents as compared to only 4 unrelated, non-disabled residents), so why should they be governed by the "non-transient" limitation for other occupants of dwellings?

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