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What is an RCFE home?

Posted by Nguyen Nga on November 1, 2021

What is an RCFE home? Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) is an acronym for Residential Care Facility for the Elderly. A RCFE is a non-medical facility that provides a degree of care that includes help with activities of daily living. “Assisted Living” or “Board and Care” facilities are other names for residential care homes for the elderly.

 RCFEs provide lodging, board, housekeeping, monitoring, and personal care assistance with basic functions such as personal hygiene, dressing, eating, and walking to people aged 60 and over. These facilities provide care and supervision for those who are unable to live alone but do not require 24-hour nursing care. Nurses, certified nursing assistants, and doctors are not required to work in these establishments. RCFEs are licensed and inspected by the California Department of Social Services to verify that they meet care and safety standards. City and local governments are prohibited by state and federal regulations from requiring special licenses for RCFEs with six or fewer residents. These regulations make it illegal for a city to use its zoning authority to treat RCFEs with six or fewer people differently than single-family residences. “No conditional use permit, zoning variance or other zoning clearance shall be required of a residential care facility for the elderly which serves six or fewer persons which is not required of a family dwelling of the same type in the same zone,” Health and Safety Code section 1569.85. In other words, the City Planning Division is prohibited from requiring special licenses for RCFEs with less than six people.

The local Fire Authority or Fire Marshall inspects RCFEs for safety concerns as part of the fire permit procedure. The fire authority plays a vital part in determining facility capacity as well as compliance with the California Code of Regulations, Fire Code, Building Code and Title 19.

 The term Licensee is used to identify the owner of a facility which can be an individual or a Legal Entity. An individual can be both the licensee and the Administrator, which is very common is 6 bed RCFEs. The Administrator Certification Program is a legislative mandate to help ensure administrators in residential care facilities have the knowledge and qualifications they need to properly care for facility residents. Administrators are persons chosen by licensees to oversee the general running of their facilities on their behalf. The Administrator Certification requires RCFE Administrator candidates to complete a 80-hour class for the initial certification and 40 hours every 2 years for re-certification to maintain active. Applicants for RCFE administrator must also get a criminal record clearance from the Department of Justice and FBI. For more information on RCFE’s contact us @ or 714.224.0826.

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