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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 Group Care

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

Licensing: What State Agency Licenses Residential Group Homes and Residential Facilities?

The Department of Health (DOH) does not license various residential group care facilities.  Licensing is done by one of two state agencies referred to as the primary licensing agency.  The two primary licensing agencies for residential group care facilities that DOH regulates are the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)  and the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

We receive many inquiries from the public, who are looking for information on how to open a group home.  DOH is not a primary licensing agency and does not conduct any inspections at homes/facilities licensed by Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD).  Anyone looking to open a group home needs to initially contact one of the following primary licensing agencies to obtain information on how to open or get licensed by that agency:

  1. Agency for Health Care Administration for homes/facilities serving the elderly, the disabled and mental health facilities.
  2. Department of Children and Families for homes/facilities serving children.
  3. Agency for Persons with Disabilities for homes/facilities serving only individuals with disabilities.

Links to frequently asked questions regarding:

What Group Home or Residential Facility Types does DOH Inspect?

The term group home and residential facility are generic terms for a wide variety of facilities.  Although uncommon, the same term can have different meanings between different state agencies.  The specific residential group care facility types the DOH has inspection authority in are listed in section 381.006(16), Florida Statutes. The DOH residential group care facilities list includes the following: assisted living facility, adult family-care home, short-term residential treatment center, residential treatment facility, home for special services, transitional living facility, crisis stabilization unit, hospice, and intermediate care facility for persons with developmental disabilities. 

  • For the purpose of the DOH’s residential group care program, the term “Short-term Residential Treatment Center” includes the following DCF licensed residential facilities: addictions receiving facilities, detoxification, programs, and Residential Level 1, Residential Level 2, Residential Level 3, Residential Level 4, and Residential Level 5 programs. 
  • For the purpose of the DOH’s residential group care program, the term “Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)” includes AHCA licensed facilities which are community-based residences for individuals exhibiting symptoms of mental illness who are in need of a long-term structured living environment.  These facilities were designed to provide long-term residential care with an overlay or coordination of mental health services. An AHCA state license covers five levels of care that range from having nurses on staff for 24 hours daily to independent apartment residences that receive only weekly staff contact.

What does an Environmental Health physical plant/group care inspection cover?

The Department of Health (DOH) inspects any DCF or AHCA licensed residential group care facility listed above using Chapter 64E-12, Florida Administrative Code. These DOH group care environmental health inspections are conducted once annually by environmental health field staff from the local county health department (CHD).  While there is no state DOH fees related to annual residential group care environmental health inspections, more than half of Florida 67 local CHDs do have local inspection fees passed/approved through the local Board of County or City Commissioners.  For information on local fees, please contact the local county health department directly.

In various residential facilities an environmental health inspection  helps the facility ensure good sanitary health and safety practices are in place related to construction, operation, and maintenance among the residents, employees, and visitors to the facility.  Our purpose is to prevent or minimize the risk of transmitting disease, injury, or bodily harm. The list below includes some of the primary areas the environmental health inspector checks for during their inspection visit.

  • House Keeping
  • Lighting
  • Vermin/Animal Control
  • Bed/Bedding
  • Water Supply
  • Liquid & Solid Waste
  • Housing
  • Sanitary Facilities
  • Outdoor Area & Equipment
  • Indoor equipment/furnishings
Areas Related To Disease Control and Injury Prevention Need Special Attention
  • Food Hygiene & Sanitation
  • Sanitary bedding
  • Solid Waste/garbage
  • Sanitary Facilities (Restrooms & Bathing Facilities)
  • Repair and Upkeep
  • Safe Outdoor Recreational Area
  • Vector and Vermin Control
  • Water Temperature

The inspector will look throughout the facility to ensure it is being properly maintained. Here is a picture of a hole where vermin were entering into the kitchen cupboards.

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?

DOH Rules - Chapter 64E-12, Florida Administrative Code

Frequency:  Once per year.

Form Used:  DH 4029

Food Inspections?

The level of food hygiene standards that apply to the kitchen depend on the maximum number of residents the facility is approved to house.

10 or fewer beds:

DOH Rules - Chapter 64E-12, Florida Administrative Code

Frequency:  Once per year as part of the physical plant inspection

Form Used:  DH 4023

11 or more beds must apply for and obtain a food hygiene permit:

A state DOH food permit is needed when a facility serves food and has a maximum capacity of 11 residents or more.  Prior to opening or operating, a set of plans drawn to scale and a completed food hygiene permit application must be submitted to the local county health department for a food hygiene plan review. There is a fee associated with the required plan review. To apply for a food hygiene permit, please go to the food hygiene website or contact your local county health department's environmental health section.

DOH Rules - Chapter 64E-11, Florida Administrative Code

Frequency:  Once per quarter or as determined by the level of food service.

Form Used:  DH 4023