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 -

Department of Children and Family Services -

Comments 16 comments

travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

This is very informative. Here in the Philippines, there are many street children and stowaways that become nuisance on the streets. The social welfare department is having problems on how to house them in a group home facility.

We really lack group home facilities that can provide them the basic needs, including education.

Tee 4 years ago

Yes I would like for you to email more information please

Nancy 4 years ago

I want to open a "Safe

Haven" type drop for

babies and for kids ages 0 through their teens. How can i do this? I've been takin care of kids and they get taken away when their parents decide to come get them.. i have no legal guardianship over them.. and is very painful to see them leave. how can i help these kids all at once?


lauryn 4 years ago

Will you please post the information about opening an adult residential care facility? I am really interested in opening a facility but I do not know where to start.

Keyonna Stanford 4 years ago

Hello I am very interested in opening a home I have my program design completed. Can we please exchange contact information?

RPeavie 4 years ago

I am very passionate about opening a residential care facility (group home) for teenage boys in San Bernardino. There is a great need for assistance here. I find your information very helpful but I need to know the first step to take in starting. Can you please email me with this info? I really appreciate any advice or instructions that you have. Thank you!!!

Andrea 2 years ago

This information was extremely helpful. I am only 21, but I am extremely determined to open a group home. It's my passion.

starla Fuqua 2 years ago

I'm interested in knowing where and what classes I should start off with. My email is thank you

Bhaylie Garland 2 years ago

I'm interested in opening a group home in Moreno Valley and I would like to know what classes is needed and how to get started.... My email is thank you for the information you gave it was really helpful

Charmaine Mosley 2 years ago

Please send more information. And do you know if convicted felons could work at a group home or become an administrator for a group home ? Also where do they offer the classes necessary to began th entire process

Kimberly crowley 19 months ago

I am interested in opening a residential program in my area of Massachusetts. Currently around the corner we have a beautiful facility for eating disorders, I believe it's called monteseido. Because of this, I know that my home is zoned to be a residential home under a certain law that I cannot remember. I am interested in not dealing with insurance and thought that a self pay facility could be a good idea. I've been working as a nurse in the psychiatric setting for several years and have worked with teenagers adults and geriatrics. I do believe there is a need for something right in the middle. Not the super rich but not Medicaid either. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

John McCann 14 months ago

I am extremely interested. My girlfriend who has been a foster mom for a special needs boy for 6 years now and I really want to open a group home in Southern Cali. Please give me any information that can help. My email is

Thank you!

Daniel 13 months ago

I am also very interested in gaining more knowledge about this. I am located in Fresno, CA and have a passion for working with Children with Mental Health issues. I am in the process of becoming licensed as an MFT and hope to become licensed soon. Fresno has some good group homes but unfortunately there are some that are terribly run and I feel that if I just knew where to start I could make an impact for the community. Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated. Loved the article!

Daniel 13 months ago

Tracey 6 months ago

I have a group home in az, but I'm considering moving to the sandiego area. I would like info on opening a group home in California. It is my understanding that they will be closing all group homes in 2017 with the new law. Please email me @

Angel Mitchell 6 months ago

I'm Angel , I'm 22 years old and I am very interested in opening an group home facility for Adults with intellectual disabilities in Florida & would love for you to share more insight on what it took to start and open your facility correctly

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