Letter: Say no to unlicensed care facilities

I am writing in response to the Feb. 8 cartoon regarding licensed versus unlicensed residential care facilities. At first I was not sure how to take the tone of the cartoon. After much thought, yes, I do feel better knowing that the residential care facility moving in across from my home is fully licensed. I can sleep better at night knowing that the people who care for my new neighbors — all of whom are severely handicapped children — have background checks, training and an organization above them that maintains oversight. I feel better knowing that somebody outside of the facility conducts routine inspections and will investigate complaints in the event of abuse or misconduct.

Unlicensed facilities have none of this. They have no organization that monitors anything that happens inside their home, which is probably why my poor, elderly neighbor had the clothing, television and food stolen that I had given him when he was sent to live in an unlicensed facility. And why there were dead birds and filth throughout the house. It was clear the operators were only in it to make a buck off of the elderly. Many of these facilities operate outside of the law and have no concerns about disregarding basic standards of health, safety and decency.

I am not saying all licensed facilities are perfect and all unlicensed ones are bad. I would ask those of you who feel this is not an important issue, or say this is another case of NIMBYism: if you were unable to care for your child or parent, would you put them in an unlicensed, unregulated residential facility? It's time our City Council put regulations in place that help weed out these profiteering caregivers.

Julie Fisher

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