RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - The Department of Health and Human Services has released an operational guide to define the roles and responsibilities of local and state agencies in responding to emergency closures by owners to ensure the health and safety of residents. The report was created following the closure of several adult care facilities early this year.
"As the Department that regulates residential care facilities, we have clear guidelines on appropriate timeframes when closing a home is the only option," HHS Secretary Aldona Wos said in the announcement of the report. "When owners disregard the guidelines, our first priority must be on protecting the residents and making sure they all have a safe place to live."
Licensed residential care facilities include family care homes, adult care homes and supervised living facilities for people with mental illness and intellectual developmental disabilities. An unannounced, or emergency closure, occurs when a facility does not provide the required 30-day notice to residents and DHHS.
Secretary Wos appointed Dennis Streets, director of the DHHS Division of Aging and Adult Services to chair the work group, which included representation from all DHHS agencies that play a role in oversight and regulation of adult care facilities as well as partner agencies at the county level. Their starting point was existing policies regarding sudden closure due to natural disasters.
While the work group's emphasis was on protecting residents in the event of closure, Wos said she remains committed to exploring ways to discourage owners from acting irresponsibly.
"I intend to continue working with the leaders of consumer and trade groups on ways to strengthen our State laws to assure responsible practices among those providing residential care to some of our most vulnerable citizens," Wos noted.
The 24-page guide is available online at