REPRESENTATIVE KATIE EYRE
HOUSE DISTRICT 29
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Rep. Katie Eyre
February 9, 2012
BILL PROTECTS COMMUNITIES BY IMPROVING OVERSIGHT OF RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT FACILITIES
SALEM—Rep. Katie Eyre (R-Hillsboro) today testified to the House Judiciary Committee on her bill to ensure proper licensing for residential treatment facilities that are located in Hillsboro and other Oregon communities. HB 4159 improves care in residential treatment facilities, clarifies requirements for licensing, and provides better state oversight of facilities providing medical care.
Rep. Eyre was joined by members of the Hillsboro Neighborhood Coalition and crime victim advocates in calling for better safeguards to protect Oregonians living near the facilities.
“Hillsboro and other Oregon communities are concerned about ensuring better care for residents of residential treatment facilities,” Rep. Eyre said. “This morning, citizens provided compelling testimony of the horrific consequences to both residents of treatment facilities and the surrounding communities when facilities are not properly licensed. All Oregonians deserve better.”
Under current law, residential care and treatment facilities are regulated by two separate state agencies depending on the services a facility provides to clients. Since the two agencies may not work together to ensure proper licensing, some facilities may not have adequate safeguards to serve their clients and protect the neighborhoods where they are located.
HB 4159 slightly adjusts state law to ensure agencies work together to ensure more facilities are licensed and monitored. The bill’s supporters say the change may help prevent future crimes such as one that occurred in 2010, when a convicted rapist left an unlicensed Hillsboro facility and victimized a young girl nearby.
“As Oregon looks to moves more people into community based residential treatment programs, there are lax licensing standards that put both the clients and community in a dangerous situation,” said Judy Polumbo of the Hillsboro Neighborhoods Coalition. “We firmly believe licensing will bring a higher level of service to Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens. Licensed facilities, with properly trained staff, a structured environment, appropriate care and treatment enhance the chances of successful outcomes for clients. It also provides peace of mind for communities where facilities reside.”
HB 4159 is pending further action by the House Judiciary Committee.