Group Homes & Developmental Disability

Developmentally disabled individuals often reside in group homes or small residential homes where they live with a caregiver and other staff and sometimes a few other individuals. These homes are funded through Medicaid and coordinated between the Developmental Disability Administration, Resource or Service Coordination and the Provider.

In Maryland, group homes must comply with various laws in order to be licensed, including the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), and the Health General Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Maryland State Law [Health General § 7-101(e)] defines developmental disability as a severe chronic disability that:

  1. is attributable to a physical or mental impairment, other than the sole diagnosis of mental illness, or to a combination of mental and physical impairments;
  2. is manifested before the individual attains the age of 22;
  3. is likely to continue indefinitely;
  4. results in the inability to live independently without external support or continuing and regular assistance; and
  5. reflects the need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services that are planned and coordinated for that individual.

Group Homes in MarylandOnce a developmentally disabled person reaches age 22, funding can be obtained through coordination of Developmental Disabilities Administration for a residential placement such as a “group” home. Many parents are unable to provide 24/7 skilled care due to their age, health, work, or other reasons. Also, the disabled person may have severe behavior problems which prevent them from living in the parents’ home.

Placement into a group home requires careful analysis of financial resources, the caregivers, the person’s preferences, living environment, legal, medical, social, employment, day services, and the short- and long-term needs. Placing a son or daughter into a group home can be a difficult decision for parents.

Group Homes and the Risk for Injury

Unfortunately, placement into a group home is not without risks. Severe injury and death may occur due to neglect or abuse. Often, the caregivers are improperly hired, not properly trained or they are not giving their full attention to the needs of the disabled.

When severe injury and death occur, you should do the following:

  1. Obtain immediate medical attention for any injury.
  2. Contact the authorities, such as police.
  3. File a written complaint with the regulatory agency. In Maryland that would be the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), which is a division of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). They will conduct an investigation and can issue notices of deficiencies or impose other sanctions, including possible loss of the facility’s license.
  4. Contact an attorney who has experience in handling injury and death claims against facilities which house the developmentally disabled. They will review any breaches of the standard of care, causation of injury or death, and whether the claim will produce sufficient damages to compensate the victim or family.

Your Legal Options in Maryland

Lawyer for Disabled in MarylandFamily members are naturally devastated by the loss of a child, especially in the hands of those entrusted to provide for their health and safety. Very few attorneys handle these types of cases, but Roger Weinberg has significant experience in representing victims and family members when abuse or neglect occurs in group homes. Often he gets referrals from other attorneys who haven’t handled developmentally disability injuries and deaths.

At the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, LLC, we pride ourselves on giving compassionate and competent representation to families suffering the injury or loss of a loved one. If you suspect that a group home was guilty of negligence, bring your concerns to our office by calling 1-866-529-5839 or contact us online. We’ll help you begin an investigation that may result in compensation and justice.

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