Do assisted living communities accept registered sex offenders?

  1. Molly Dworken 10/16/2012 05:33PM

    The aging of the population has led to an increase in the number of registered sex offenders (RSOs) who are over the age of 65 and require long-term care. A Perfect Cause, a victim's advocacy organization, reports that there approximately 1,800 registered sex offenders (RSO) living in long-term care facilities in the United States.

    All 50 states have sex offender registries and notification laws, as required by federal law. However, there is great variation in how the registries are set up and the way that notifications are made. One state – Virginia – has laws in place requiring long-term care facilities to register to receive notification regarding convicted sex offenders living in the same or contiguous zip code and to determine prior to admission whether potential residents are registered sex offenders. However, in the majority of states, assisted living facilities are likely to be unaware if a potential resident is a registered sex offender unless a background check is conducted. The legality of denying RSOs housing in long-term care facilities is already being challenged in court.

    Some states are looking into legislation that would require long-term care facilities to notify their residents that a RSO is housed in the facility. In Virginia, one of the laws already in place requires facilities to inform their residents of the existence of the state's Sex Offender Registry, how to use it, and assist them in accessing it.