State Representative Kerri Evelyn Harris‘ first major bill is House Bill 114, which would establish standards for recovery houses to become certified. The certification would carry additional privileges for such homes and enable individuals in recovery and loved ones assisting them to more easily find safe and reliable recovery housing placements.
House Bill 114 would codify standards for recovery houses to become “certified recovery houses” either through the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health or through a division-approved certifying entity.
Under the bill, a non-certified recovery house could continue to operate and provide an alcohol and drug-free residence to persons recovering from substance use disorders. However, a non-certified recovery house would not be able to receive referrals from a state entity or state court; obtain state or local funding; receive state referrals for individuals; or advertise as a certified house.
Rep. Harris contends the current lack of standards, certification and oversight has essentially produced an environment where a lot of recovery homes exist, but all of the options aren’t necessarily benefiting those seeking recovery and addiction assistance.
HB 114 also would establish a Certified Recovery House Registry and a recovery house fund. The certification fees would be used for training and enforcement of recovery home regulations.
The bill would take effect when final rules and regulations are promulgated or within six months after the measure is signed into law, whichever comes first.
HB 114 has already been considered and released by the House Health & Human Development Committee, but it has been placed in the House Appropriations Committee for consideration, as to be expected.
|House Bill 114 – Standards for Recovery Homes||Currrent Status – Out of Committee 3/29/21|
|House Sponsors – Harris, Longhurst, Baumbach, Griffith, Heffernan, Morrison, Williams // Briggs King||Senate Sponsors – Pinkney, Hansen, McBride, Poore, Sokola|
|House Yes Votes –||Senate Yes Votes –|
|House No Votes –||Senate No Votes –|
|House Absents or Not Voting –||Senate Absent or Not Voting –|
Representative Harris: “We know that those who enter recovery houses are extremely vulnerable and in need of top-quality care to assist with their addiction treatment and recovery. We also know the challenges people find when navigating the system as it currently exists in Delaware. This bill will establish a certification process and provide a treatment standard of care for residents within these facilities.”
“We need to do all we can to ensure that people who need help are getting the help they need. Recovery houses are about so much more than just where a person battling a substance disorder goes to sleep every night. Without established standards of care, there really isn’t a way we can say we’re meeting the needs of the residents. Additionally, established standards help ensure we’re providing all the tools a person needs to thrive and grow along their recovery journey.”
House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst: “As it stands now, there are too many situations where people are being misled about the type of care, treatment services and options available to them. It’s time that we establish a standard of care so that we have a process in place that provides those battling substance use disorders a prosperous path forward.”
Senator Marie Pinkney, a licensed social worker and Senate prime sponsor of HB 114: “Access to a well-resourced recovery home can be the deciding factor in a person’s journey to recovery. This legislation not only reinforces and standardizes best practices for these facilities but creates a mechanism to fund the services they provide.”
HB 114 will be called the Matthew D. Klosowski Act, in honor MaryBeth Cichocki’s son who died of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers. “After my son’s passing, I felt like I had to do something,” said Ms. Cichocki. “We can’t prey on those who are vulnerable. Addiction truly is a disease. We can’t allow people to come into our state and buy or rent a property and then call it a sober living home. There needs to be a way for the state to come in and ensure that those living in these homes are getting the best support and resources. Certifying these homes and providing standards will give individuals the help they need.”
Ms. Cichocki said she’s been working with the legislature for the past three years and is thrilled that the bill is being reintroduced. She remains hopeful that the bill will be passed.