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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Contact the Florida Department of Health Group Care Facilities Program

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1. 1. I'm interested in owning and operating a group home and was wondering about licensing and other requirements. Where would I find this information?

The Department of Health (DOH) is not the licensing agency for group homes.  A group home is a generic term used for a variety of care homes. These can be for children 19 years or less and licensed under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or  the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD )  if they serve disabled clients.  Depending upon the needs of your child, you can contact the appropriate licensing agency listed below to get a listing of facilities in your area that serve your needs.

If the home serves disabled clients, contact APD.

If the facility serves children, who are not disabled and are 19 years of age or less, contact DCF.

If the facility serves elderly clients, contact Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Their licensing office can be contact by phone at 850-487-2515.  To locate facilities regulated by the Agency for Health Care Administration, you can check out that Agency's website for facility locations.

However, DOH does conduct both Food Hygiene and Group care/physical plant related inspections in group homes and other residential facilities. Once you begin the licensing process with the licensing agency, you should contact the local health department for the county in which you intend to locate your group home prior to construction, remodel and/or before opening for food hygiene, group care, drinking water supplies from a well, pool, and septic requirements/inspections/plan reviews.

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2. 2. Where can I possibly locate a list of homes that are designated as residential homes for developmentally disabled individuals? Is there anyway to know if there is a home in this neighborhood that is licensed through DCF?

Group homes that serve persons with disabilities are regulated by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Group homes that serve children will be regulated by the Department of Children and Families.

Certain group homes for the elderly may be licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Their licensing office can be contacted by phone at 850-487-2515.

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3. 3. Does any governmental agency buy homes for use as a group home?

You may want to see if you qualify for Community Development Block Grant type funding, which is managed through your local community development office or neighborhood services office. Please contact local county or city government offices for additional information.

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4. 4. What’s the difference between an Adult Family Home, a Group Home, or Group Care Home?

An adult family care home is licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), is limited to five residents who are disabled and the operator does live in the home as a family unit. These do not provide staffed care. These AFCHs are currently in the process of being transferred to the Agency for Disabled Persons (APD) because they primarily serve disabled residents.

A group home is a generic term the Department of Health uses for a variety of care homes. These can be for children, 19 years or less and licensed under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or APD if they serve disabled clients. Depending on the arrangement, some live as family units like a foster family and others can be staffed or even staffed with "house parents" (a real married couple) who play a parenting role and are paid for their role, in addition to having additional staff support. 

Group homes that serve persons with disabilities are regulated by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Group homes that serve children will be regulated by the Department of Children and Families.

Certain group homes for the elderly may be licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Their licensing office can be contacted by phone at 850-487-2515.

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