How to open a group home for children
Are you interested in opening a group home facility in Southern California? This article will give you an overview of how to open a residential facility serving children ages 13 - 17 years of age. I have opened up two of these facilities so I wanted to share information on some of the steps. I want to emphasize overview as this process could easily be developed into a manual or book.
This information can sometimes be difficult to find and the people already in the business seem like they do not want to share the information. I think the first important step of this entire process begins with you wanting to make a difference in teenager’s life. If you are attempting to get rich then this may not be the business for you.
The first step in opening a group home is to find out what type of services are needed in your County. I wanted to open a group home in Los Angeles County so I called The Department of Children and Family Services. They actually had a request for proposals (RFP) during that time. The RFP was specific to serving teenage males or females ages 13 – 17 years old severely emotional disturbed (SED). This is considered a high level of care that requires a certain amount of previous experience working with this population. The County of Los Angeles pays you according to a Rate Classification Level (RCL), this rate is established prior to you taking your first teenager.
Part of the process of opening a group home requires you to have a qualified Group Home Administrator. If you have experience working with the target population you may want to take the class to become your own Group Home Administrator. Community Care Licensing provides a list of qualified programs that teach this course This course is 5 days 40 hours, and you have to take an exam to successful be a Group Home Administrator.
It would good to mention at this point that you have to put together a complete program design as part of the process. The program design basically describes in great detail how your residential facility will be conducted on a day to day basis. There are also specific requirements that you have to meet in order to qualify.
After you determine the level of care of apply for a request for proposal. You want to begin looking for a residential property to purchase or lease. Leasing a property is a bit more difficult because you want to have a location that is going to be available for you years to come. Personally I purchased a property for residential facility. Once you have obtained the property you need to apply to have it licensed by Community Care Licensing (CCL).This application process can take up to 90 days. The residential facility has to be licensed in order to care teenagers.
Following the residential facility being licensed for Community Care Licensing and you are able to obtain a contract with the County. The Department of Children and Family Services will refer children to your placement. I found the process to be very time consuming. Overall the opportunity that you have to offer these children is very rewarding.
For the readers that are interested in opening an Adult Residential Facility. I will write a how to for that type of business as well. Unfortunately, I am only familiar with California residential treatment facilities so I write with experience in this area. If you have questions please feel free to post.
Community Care Licensing - www.ccld.ca.gov
Department of Children and Family Services - http://dcfs.co.la.ca.us