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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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Residential Child-Caring Agency

Contact the Florida Department of Health Group Care Facilities Program

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files

What is a Residential Child-Caring Agency?

A Residential child-caring agency is a Department of Children and Families (DCF) licensed residential facility or agency which provides staffed 24-hour care for children in residential facilities.  Various types of residential child-caring agencies include, but are not limited to, maternity homes, runaway shelters, group homes that are administered by an agency, emergency shelters that are not in private residences, and wilderness camps.  Residential child-caring agencies do not include hospitals, boarding schools, summer or recreation camps, nursing homes, or facilities operated by a governmental agency for the training, treatment, or secure care of delinquent youth, or facilities licensed under Florida Statutes (FS) 393.067 or s. 394.875 or chapter 397.

What is the Department of Health's Role in Residential Child-Caring Agencies?

In general the Department of Health (DOH) provides an environmental health inspection of the food service area to ensure basic food safety and sanitation standards are followed.  Per subsection 409.175(6)(e) of the Florida Statutes (F.S), and at the request of DCF, DOH will conduct an annual routine inspection at DCF licensed residential child-caring agencies and apply designated food safety standards, which are located in DCF rule 65C-14.010 (149 kb) of the Florida Administrative Code (FAC).  The request from DCF is made through to the local County Health Department (CHD) in the county that the facility operates. An environmental health inspector from the local CHD will conduct the inspection and provide the inspection results to DCF.

What Does Environmental Health Look at During Their Annual Inspection?

At child-caring agencies, the following food safety and sanitation items are assessed.  Please note: the food safety standards are applicable based on the maximum number of residents the building is approve to house.

Capacities up to 12 residents:

  1. Food is clean and wholesome
  2. Food and food equipment protection
    1. Free of rodents, vermin, and flies
    2. Clean equipment
    3. Protected during transportation
    4. Hold cold foods at 41°F or below 
    5. Hold hot foods at 140°F or above
  3. Equipment
    1. One compartment sink
    2. Hot and cold running water
    3. Hot water is provided at a minimum of 100°F
    4. Containers labeled and dated
  4. If on a private well for drinking water:
    1. A water sample is taken for bacteriological testing
  5. Maximum hot water not to exceed 120°F
  6. Bath, shower, sink are functioning

 Capacities over 12 residents:

  1. Floors, walls, and shelving maintained
  2. Hot water is provided at a minimum of 100°F
  3. Residential style dishwasher
  4. Food preparation
    1. Cooling properly
    2. Thawing properly
    3. Cooking thoroughly
    4. Reheating thoroughly
    5. Preparation area is free of contamination
    6. Preparation equipment is clean
  5. Food Protection
    1. Approved source
    2. Food protected from contamination
    3. Free of rodents, vermin, and flies
  6. Storage
    1. Separation of raw and ready to eat foods
    2. Hold cold foods at 41°F or below
    3. Hold hot foods at 140°F or above
    4. Date marking potentially hazardous foods
    5. Ice
    6. Protection during transportation
    7. Storage of poisonous or toxic materials
    8. Food and equipment stored at least six (6) inches off the floor
  7. Good management practices for facility pest control and head lice information.

Information can be found at the University of Florida's web site Integrated Pest Management.

Physical Plant Inspection Rule, Frequency, and DOH Inspection Forms

DCF Rules 65C-14, F.A.C. (355kb PDF)

Frequency: Once annually, only if an inspection request is received by the DCF.

Form Used: DH 4029 (576kb PDF)