How do I become licensed to provide services to people with developmental disabilities?

To become a licensed provider for adults (age 21 and over) with developmental disabilities, please follow the instructions from the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) in the attached PDF document. If you have further questions, please contact OHCQ at 410-402-8100 or toll-free at 1-877-402-8220.

To become a licensed provider for children (under age 21) with developmental disabilities, the Governors Office for Children (GOC) is the Single Point of Entry.  Information is available at .   If you have further questions, please contact GOC at 410-767-8675.

How Do I Apply For Services

How do I know if my application has been received?

You should get a letter in about 5-7 days informing you of the date of receipt of your application. If you don't receive a letter call the regional office.

After I submit my application, how do I find out about my status?

If eligibility has been completed, contact the worker.

When do I get the money for services?

Services to individuals are based on availability of funding. Being eligible for services does not guarantee immediate funding. Your eligibility worker will call you, or contact you by letter when funding is available.

What if my situation changes?

If a determination has been made call your worker. If no determination has been made call the Regional office.

If I disagree with a decision made about my eligibility, can I appeal?

Yes, you can appeal any decision made in regards to your application or delivery of services. To do so, please fill out the Hearings Request form and submit to the Director at the address given on the form.

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What You Need to Know About Community Residential Services

What are community residential services?

Community residential services provide housing and support services to individuals with disabilities and other individuals who need support services to live in and fully participate in the community. These programs receive funding from State agencies such as the Department of Health and Mental hygiene (DHMH), Department of Human Resources (DHR), Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the Department of Aging (MDA) and the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF). Additional funding can be obtained from federal funds, county funds, private foundations or the United Way. These programs are generally licensed or approved by the State funding agency, and are regularly evaluated and monitored by representatives from the State and County agencies.

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What are the goals for Community Residential Services?

The goal of Community Residential services is to provide homes and support services for individuals with special needs who require some assistance to live successfully in the community.

Why do some people need supported housing?

Historically, individuals with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations, whose care may have required more than the average family could accommodate, were often institutionalized and/or hospitalized. Institutional care prohibited independent thought, action and skill development, and, minimized or denied personal freedoms. Over time, some of these individuals became too dependent and lost their sense of independence. Their self-esteem and spirit were injured by the experience of living in an institution or from being homeless. Moving to homes in the community often requires these individuals to learn or re-learn social skills, relationship skills, independent living skills and how to value themselves. Community Residential Services provide these learning opportunities, as well as support, guidance and friendship to assist individuals, who otherwise would be unable to live in the community, to experience inclusive and participation in community activities of their choice.

Who lives in Community Residential Service homes?

The people who live in these homes have a variety of disabilities and special needs, as well as a wide range of abilities and interests. Some of the individuals might have a diagnosis of intellectual disability or of a mental illness or they might be recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. Some of the individuals might be frail and elderly, or might have a physical disability. Some might have cognitive impairments and others have just been deprived of acre and the opportunity to contribute and participate. All of the individuals living in homes provided by the Community Residential Services are capable of being good neighbors.

How can I get information about these programs?

A collaborative effort of the Maryland Department of Health Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and the Department of Aging established a Community Residential Information line. You can call 1-800-964-2931 for information about adult Community Residential Services in Maryland. This line is available for anyone seeking information and/or wishing to express concerns or appreciations for group homes, alternative living units (ALU) and other types of Community residences, providers of services, government officials, elected officials and all seeking general information about these services.
Information about community homes for children and adolescents can be obtained by calling the Office for Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) at 410-767-4160.

Are there any laws that guide this practice of setting up community homes for individuals with special needs?

There are several laws that guide this practice: The Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA); Americans with disabilities Act 0f 1990 (ADA); and the local residential zoning laws.
The Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act is an amendment to the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1966 which made it unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The amendments added protection for individuals with disabilities and for families with children, but they did not remove the protections already provided by the Civil Rights Act of 1966.
The Fair Housing Act is a law that protects the housing rights of all citizens. The amendments state that individuals with disabilities have an equal right to choose where they want to live in a community. The law prohibits any practices by a seller, renter, or community that have the effect of limiting the housing options for individuals with disabilities. The presence of support staff in these homes is considered to be a reasonable accommodation that makes it possible for individual with disabilities to live in the community.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in private employment, all public services, public accommodations and telecommunications. Individuals living in homes provided by Community Residential Services would be eligible for protection and accommodation offered by this law for individuals with disabilities. (For more information about ADA, contact the ADA Information Center for the Mid-Atlantic Region: 1-800-949-4232).
There are State laws and County zoning regulations that describe what types of facilities and/or community homes can exist in different communities. Some communities have residential zoning regulations, including commercial codes as well. Some of the laws have exceptions written in to accommodate the special needs of individuals needing residential support services.

What can people do to be good neighbors to residents of these homes?

Individuals living in homes provided by Community Residential Services have the same range of interests as anyone else living in the neighborhood.

How do you engage with any of your other new neighbors?

Usually, a welcome "hello" begins a relationship. Finding out what they like to do is a good next step. Some of the good things that have worked to connect neighbor to neighbor in other Maryland communities are:

  • Greeting with a "hello" or "welcome to the neighborhood"
  • Attending open houses or holidays parties
  • Offering transportation
  • Invitations to go shopping or to attend religious services
  • Dropping by just to "chat"
  • Borrowing a cup of sugar! Lending a cup of sugar!
  • Invitations to participate in community activities, e.g. Block parties, Neighborhood Watch Programs, etc.
  • Invitations to volunteer to help others (e.g. lending a helping hand to repair damaged property, community beautification projects, etc.)
  • Singing together in community chorus
  • Walking dogs together
  • Walking or jogging together