Baltimore County Department of Social Services administers two housing programs for clients over the age of 18 who need protective housing. These programs are:
- Adult Foster Care: A County funded program
- Project Home: A State funded program
The purpose of these programs is to serve the vulnerable and disabled adults of Baltimore County who need safe and supportive environments in which to live. The primary goal is to enable these persons to remain in the community. There may be a maximum of four clients placed in a home.
We work together as part of a team: the Baltimore County Department of Social Services housing coordinators, the client's social workers, the providers - the person who provides a home for the client - and the clients.
The Type of Clients Served by Project Home/Adult Foster Care
Clients in these programs may have a variety of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder (manic-depression) or anxiety disorders. They may also be aged/and or disabled individuals who do not need to be in a nursing home. They may have a variety of medical conditions such as diabetes, a heart condition, arthritis, or have suffered a stroke. There are some specialized homes that house people living with AIDS. They do not require nursing home care and are not bedridden. In most cases their medical needs are covered by Medical Assistance.
We have noticed that the clients who are now applying to our program are more frail and vulnerable. Therefore clients are requiring more "hands on" care by the providers.
Requirements of the Home and Provider
- Meet the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR)
- Grab rails in the bathroom and on all stairways
- Smoke detectors
- For rental properties, hard wire smoke detectors needed with battery back up
- Fire extinguisher- Rating for use against chemical and electrical fires and that is readily accessible on each floor
- Fire drills-Performed and documented quarterly
Clients must have a separate sleeping space. The maximum is two clients to a room. The room must measure 70 square feet for one client. With two clients in a room, the room must measure 120 square feet. The client needs a comfortable bed, two pillows, adequate linens, a bedside stand with a drawer, a comfortable chair, at least two drawers in a bureau, a bedside or over the bed lamp, closet space and proper lighting. There also needs to be an adequate amount of linens, dishes and utensils in the home.
A home study is conducted by the housing coordinator to assess the applicant's appropriateness and interest in becoming a provider. Everyone in the home is expected to participate in the home study.
All persons living in the home 18 years of age or older (except clients) must pass a criminal history clearance.
The provider must have a responsible, reliable back up, at least one maybe more, who can come into your home and stay with the clients in your absence. The back up may also be contacted if there is an emergency with a client and the provider cannot be reached. The back up(s) must also undergo a criminal clearance.
Three references are required. If the provider is employed, one of the references must be a professional reference. You may use friends, neighbors or clergy members but no relatives.
Several mandatory trainings are required by our agency, including CPR and First Aid, Introduction to Mental Illness, Fire Safety, and Universal Precautions. There may also be other trainings held and the provider may be mandated to attend those as well.
Providers Will Provide:
- three meals a day and snacks
- Personal care
- Supervision - clients should be able to be left alone for a few hours
- Record keeping, disbursement of client's personal needs allowance if required by client's social worker
- Medication monitoring
- Assistance with dressing or choosing proper clothing
- Arranging medical appointments and psychiatric appointments
- Transportation to medical and psychiatric appointments
- Ongoing contact with psychiatrist/medical doctor/housing coordinator/client's social worker
Services are based on needs of the individual client and are determined by the client's social worker.
How Clients Come into the Program and are Matched with Providers
Clients can be referred to our program from a hospital, other programs within the Department of Social Services, or from the community.
When a referral is made, the supervisor ranks the client, according to the client's needs, and assigns a social worker from the program to assess the client.
When the assessment is completed and if the client is appropriate and willing to be a part of this program, the social worker making the assessment presents the client to the committee. The committee consists of housing coordinators and the program supervisor.
The housing coordinators suggest possible providers, based on the need and wishes of the client. The housing coordinators will contact the provider and verbally present the client to the provider. If the provider is interested, the client's social worker will contact the provider, answer any further questions about the client, and arrange a visit. If the initial visit goes well, then an overnight visit will be arranged (the provider will be paid for the overnight visit). If this goes well, then a move-in date will be set.
Adult Foster Care
The above information is intended to be a brief overview. When provider applicants are assigned for a home study, the housing coordinators will review the responsibilities of the provider and the certification process in detail.
Kelly Hale, LCSW-C
Shirley Preissler, LGSW
Department of Social Services
Drumcastle Government Center
6401 York Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21212
Revised April 17, 2012