The First Step Home, Inc.
Client Rights Practices & Grievance Procedure

Revised: January 21, 2020

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES YOUR CLIENT RIGHTS AND THE PROCESS FOR FILING A GRIEVANCE, SHOULD YOU FEEL YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED.  PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.  For further information, contact: Cindy Fischer, Director of Human Resources, The First Step Home, Inc., (Direct Line) 513-559-4801.

  1. The right to be treated with consideration and respect for personal dignity, autonomy and privacy.

  2. The right to reasonable protection from physical, sexual or emotional abuse and inhumane treatment.

  3. The right to receive services in the least restrictive, feasible environment.

  4. The right to participate in any appropriate and available service that is consistent with an individual service plan (ISP), regardless of the refusal of any other service, unless that service is a necessity for clear treatment reasons and requires the person's participation.

  5. The right to give informed consent to or to refuse any service, treatment or therapy, including medication absent an emergency.

  6. The right to participate in the development, review and revision of one's own individualized treatment plan and receive a copy of it.

  7. The right to freedom from unnecessary or excessive medication, and to be free from restraint or seclusion unless there is immediate risk of physical harm to self or others.

  8. The right to be informed and the right to refuse any unusual or hazardous treatment procedures.

  9. The right to be advised and the right to refuse observation by others and by techniques such as one-way vision mirrors, tape recorders, video recorders, television, movies, photographs or other audio and visual technology. This right does not prohibit an agency from using closed-circuit monitoring to observe seclusion rooms or common areas, which does not include bathrooms or sleeping areas.

  10. The right to confidentiality of communications and personal identifying information within the limitations and requirements for disclosure of client information under state and federal laws and regulations.

  11. The right to have access to one's own client record unless access to certain information is restricted for clear treatment reasons. If access is restricted, the treatment plan shall include the reason for the restriction, a goal to remove the restriction, and the treatment being offered to remove the restriction.

  12. The right to be informed a reasonable amount of time in advance of the reason for terminating participation in a service, and to be provided a referral, unless the service is unavailable or not necessary.

  13. The right to be informed of the reason for denial of a service.

  14. The right not to be discriminated against for receiving services on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, developmental disability, genetic information, human immunodeficiency virus status, or in any manner prohibited by local, state or federal laws.

  15. The right to know the cost of services.

  16. The right to be verbally informed of all client rights, and to receive a written copy upon request.   

  17. The right to exercise one's own rights without reprisal, except that no right extends so far as to supersede health and safety considerations.

  18. The right to file a grievance.

  19. The right to have oral and written instructions concerning the procedure for filing a grievance, and to assistance in filing a grievance if requested.

  20. The right to be informed of one's own condition; and,

  21. The right to consult with an independent treatment specialist or legal counsel at one's own expense.



If you believe you have been discriminated against or wish to express a complaint or grievance, please follow the steps below. You will not be retaliated against for expressing your complaint in good faith.



  1. Talk with your counselor/worker directly.  (You may omit this step if you prefer.)

  2. Talk with the supervisor of your counselor/worker: (You may also omit this step if you prefer.)

  3. Talk with First Step Home’s Director of Human Resources.



The staff member/supervisor will attempt to resolve the concern or issue you have or they may


choose to refer you to the Director of Human Resources.  If you are referred to the Director of Human Resources, he/she will attempt to assist you by following the Grievance Procedure included with these documents. If you lose this document, you may request a copy from any staff person.







  1. The grievance must be in writing. The grievance may be made verbally, and the Director of Human Resources shall be responsible for preparing a written text of the grievance.

  2. The grievance must be dated and signed by the client or by the individual filing the grievance on behalf of the client or have an attestation by the Director of Human Resources that the written grievance is a true and accurate representation of the client’s grievance. 

  3. The grievance must include the date, approximate time, and description of the incident and the names of the individuals involved in the incident or situation being grieved.

  4. The grievance shall be given to the Director of Human Resources. The Agency and the Director of Human Resources ensure assistance in filing the grievance if needed by the griever, investigation of the grievance on behalf of the griever, and agency representation for the griever at the agency hearing on the grievance, if desired by the griever.

  5. Written acknowledgement of receipt of the grievance will be provided to each grievant within 3 working days and will include: the date the grievance was received, a summary of the grievance, an overview of the investigation process, the timetable for the investigation/notification of resolution and the Director of Human Resources’ name, address and phone number.

  6. The Agency will make a grievance resolution decision within 20 days of receipt of the grievance and notify the grievant by letter.  If extenuating circumstances prevent a resolution decision from being made within 20 days of receipt, these circumstances will be documented, and written notification will be given to the client.





You will not be retaliated against for filling a formal grievance in good faith






Cindy Fischer, Director of Human Resources

The First Step Home, Inc.

2211 Fulton Avenue; Cincinnati, OH 45206

(Direct Line 513-559-4801) (


Should the Director of Human Resources be the subject of the grievance, the President will assume the responsibility. Should the Director of Human Resources not be available within eight hours, the client will be referred to the President. 



Clients have the right to file a grievance with any outside source at any time.



Hamilton County Mental Health Recovery Services Board

2350 Auburn Ave.; Cincinnati, OH 45219

(513-946-8600) (513-946-8620 fax) (


Ohio Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services

30 E. Broad Street #8; Columbus, OH  43215

(614-466-2596) (


Disability Rights Ohio

50 W. Broad St., Ste. 1400; Columbus, OH 43215

(800-282-9281) (614-644-1888 fax) (800-858-3542 TTY) (


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office for Civil Rights – Midwest Region

233 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 240; Chicago, IL 60601

(800-368-1019) (202-619-3818 fax) (800-537-7697 TDD) (


State Medical Board

30 E. Broad St., 3rd floor; Columbus, OH 43215

(614-466-3934) (614-728-5946 fax)


Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist Board

50 W. Broad St., Ste. 1075; Columbus, OH 43215-5919

(614-466-0912) (614-728-7790 fax)



Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board

77 High St., 16th floor: Columbus, OH 43215

(614-387-1110) (614-387-1109 fax) (


Nursing Education and Nursing Registration Board

17 S. High St., Ste. 400; Columbus, OH 43215

(614-466-3947) (614-466-0388 fax)

-Susan Strassburg