February 13, 2014_AFH "Dear Provider" Letters

February 13, 2014

ALTSA: AFH #2014-001 

Dear Adult Family Home Provider:

We have heard there is some confusion about when a resident of an adult family home wants to share a room with their spouse who is not a resident.

The resident right's statute at Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 70.129.140(6) states "A resident has the right to share a double room with his or her spouse or domestic partner when residents who are married to each other or in a domestic partnership with each other live in the same facility and both spouses or both domestic partners consent to the arrangement."  This law is clear that both spouses have to consent to the arrangement.

Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 388-76-10645 says it is each resident's right to share a double-room with his or her spouse.  This means that both resident and non-resident spouses have this right, including registered domestic partners.  There are, however, some additional requirements that would be considered for any non-resident who might have unsupervised access to residents.

For instance, RCW 70.128.130(13), and various rules implementing this statute, require background checks for all household members.  If a non-resident spouse has disqualifying information on their background check, that non-resident spouse would not be allowed to live in an adult family home.

There are also rules that apply to the physical environment of an adult family home that might make it impossible for a non-resident spouse to move in.  For example, WAC 388-76-10780 requires that there be one flushing toilet for every five residents and household members.  If a non-resident spouse wanted to move into a particular adult family home, and that changed the number of people using one flushable toilet to six, then the non-resident spouse might not be allowed to move in to the adult family home.

There might also be a conflict with WAC 388-76-10030 which does count all household members to include in the home's capacity, especially for evacuation purposes.  The adult family home provider will need to use both the physical environment and capacity information to make such a decision.

Please check with your local field manager if you have any questions.


E. Irene Owens, Interim Director
Residential Care Services