About Councilmember Navarro

I serve as the Council Vice-President and the Montgomery County Councilmember representing District 4. I am the chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and also serve on the Health and Human Services Committee.

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September 29, 2009

The Scoop on Group Homes

By Alexis Reed, Aide to Councilmember Navarro

Over the past few months, our office has responded to a number of requests and complaints regarding group homes that serve a variety needs. Among the groups served by these homes are minors, mentally and developmentally disabled individuals, and seniors in need. Below, I have provided information for individuals curious about the licensing and complaint aspects of group homes operating within the County’s borders. This information comes directly from Department of Health and Human Services individuals who work with health care facilities and Licensure & Regulatory Services. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call our office at (240) 777-7968.

Group homes in the County are licensed by the State of Maryland as well as Montgomery County. The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) licenses depends on the program being offered within the group home. The County license is based on Chapter 23A, Executive regulations, various County fire, zoning, permitting, and well & septic codes.

The County Licensure Requirements for group homes include the following:

  • An initial and annual license application and fee
  • A state license or consultation with the State that the state licensure requirements have been satisfactorily met
  • A sanitation approval from the environmental health specialist that the group home is in compliance with county regulations
  • A county zoning approval for nine or more occupants as well as a use and occupancy permit
  • A fire marshal’s approval
  • A well & septic approval (if the facility has a well or septic system)
  • A facility complaint procedure (approved by Licensing & Registration) which addresses how complaints from the community will be handled, as well as a Program Statement including all information required by Montgomery County law

The Montgomery County license is issued when all of the aforementioned requirements have been met. The Licensure & Regulatory Services office is responsible for enforcing County regulations and laws.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How many group homes exist in the County? There are over 400 licensed group homes in the County.
  • Are group homes required to identify themselves in the community? Because of the Fair Housing Act and privacy rights, group homes are not required to identify themselves to their community; however, the Department of Health and Human Services encourages providers to reach out to their community when they are in the process of applying for a group home license.
  • Whom do group homes serve? Group homes serve a variety needs. Among the groups served are minors, mentally and developmentally disabled individuals, and seniors in need.
  • How can I file a complaint about a group home in my neighborhood? Concerned residents who have called our office have expressed their concerns for the safety of the individuals living in group homes; however, the nature of concerns varies.
    • For complaints regarding environmental, fire code, zoning, or other issues regulated by Montgomery County call Licensure and Regulatory Services: (240) 777-3986.
    • For complaints concerning quality of care issues regulated by the Maryland Department of Human Resources’ Social Services Administration (DHR-SSA)… call the DHR Complaints Hotline for Group Homes for Minors: 1 (866) 718-5496.
    • For complaints concerning quality of care issues regulated by the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Office of Health Care Quality (MHMH/OHCQ)…

§ Assisted Living Group Home Complaints: (410) 402-8217, 1 (877) 402-8218, or online here (click the link for assisted living)

§ Developmental Disability Group Home Complaints: (410) 402-8094

§ Community Mental Health Group Home Complaints: (240) 777-4100


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