2022 Edition

Group Living Services (CA-GLS) 15: Recovery Homes

The organization provides a safe, supportive, home-like environment that is free of alcohol and illicit drugs.  
NA The organization does not operate recovery housing.




Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Drug testing procedures
  • Relapse policy
  • Relapse procedures
  • Overnight guest policy
  • Overnight guest procedures
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Residents
  • Observe facility


CA-GLS 15.01

The environment promotes a non-threatening, welcoming, and inclusive approach that fosters trust and engagement for all people.


Programs should provide an affirming, safe, and welcoming environment for all people. Programs can help to signal that they provide an environment that is safe and welcoming by posting “visual cues” of their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in common areas such as a copy of the nondiscrimination policy, culturally diverse décor, LGBTQ symbols, or posters and stickers promoting racial justice.  

Fundamental Practice

CA-GLS 15.02

The organization maintains a supply of opioid overdose reversal medication on-site.


CA-GLS 15.03

Procedures for drug testing include:
  1. collection procedures including whether collection is observed;
  2. timing and frequency of testing including initial testing; ongoing, random point-of-care testing; and confirmation testing when indicated;
  3. potential out-of-pocket costs to the resident;
  4. how test results from outside providers may be used, with resident consent, to reduce the number of tests conducted at the home; and
  5. what will happen if tests come back positive.


Tests that go beyond what is needed to protect the safety of the resident and the resident’s house mates are unethical and should be avoided. Conversely, increases in drug use or an increase in overdoses may be an indicator that not enough testing is being done. Testing that goes beyond an organization’s own established guidelines should trigger an internal ethics review to determine whether more frequent testing is justified.


CA-GLS 15.04

Policy and procedures regarding relapse:
  1. are designed to protect the health and well-being of the individual and the rest of the residents in the recovery house;
  2. define what protections are in place to prevent relapse;
  3. outline what will happen if relapse occurs;
  4. include timely due process provisions; and
  5. describe the conditions or process for re-admittance if separation from the home is necessary.
Related Standards:


Because research shows that relapse management and support can be central to preventing homelessness, when separation from the home is necessary, the resident should receive information on other providers or programs in the community that may better meet their treatment and support needs. In some cases, programs may hold the bed for a designated period of time while the inidvidual seeks treatment.


CA-GLS 15.05

Individuals are permitted to have guests, including overnight guests, as appropriate to the population and type of living situation, and are informed of the guest policy including their responsibility for the behavior of their guests. 

Related Standards:

Interpretation: In a recovery home, overnight guests may not be permitted or may be limited to the young children of residents.