California has the strongest protections and laws for family councils in the nation! A family council is an organized group of relatives and friends of residents who meet regularly to discuss and address concerns about quality of care. Family councils have a number of protections under federal law and even stronger protections under state law, including:
- Family councils shall be allowed to meet in a common room of the facility at least once a month.
- The facility must designate a staff person who is responsible for providing assistance and responding to written requests that result from family council meetings.
- The facility must respond to written requests or concerns of the family council within 10 days.
- The facility must provide the council with adequate space to post notices, minutes, newsletters or other information pertaining to the operation or interest of the family council.
- The facility shall include notices of the family council meetings in quarterly mailings, and shall inform family members and representatives of new residents of the council’s existence and of the time, place and date of meetings.
- Facilities are prohibited from willfully interfering with the formation, maintenance or promotion of a family council. “Willful interference” includes discrimination, retaliation or the willful scheduling of events in conflict with a previously scheduled family council meeting.
- Violation of the law can result in a citation and penalty of up to $1,000.
CANHR provides free materials, including a free DVD, on organizing family councils.
If you are interested in forming a family council, have questions about family councils or would like a copy of our Family Council Organizing kit, contact CANHR.