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

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Group Care

Contact the Florida Department of Health Residential Group Care Program

To Open a Group Home, Contact the Licensing Agency:

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

Group Care Program 

The Group Care Program Consists of educational facilities (public, private and charter schools) and certain residential facilities. For more information on either of these facility types, please click on the coordinating subject area tab to the left.

A group of older adults.

Rule Revision

In June of 2023, the Department has restarted the rule revision process again for Chapter 64E-12, of the Florida Administrative Code. A Notice of Development of Rulemaking was advertised in the Florida Administrative Register. A draft copy of the proposed changes can be found here: Chapter 64E-12, Florida Administrative Code Proposed Draft. All written comments must be received by August 31, 2023. Please email comments to

What is a “Group Home”?

A “group home” is a generic term for various types of 24-hour residential group care facilities licensed by one of three other State Agencies: Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Department of Children and Families (DCF), and Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). The Department of Health (DOH) does not license any residential group care facilities(“group home”), nor provides placement services for residents seeking placement in the state of Florida, nor provides any type of funding for residential group care.

How to Open a “Group Home”?

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

  1. Agency for Health Care Administration for homes/facilities serving the elderly, the disabled and crisis stabilization mental health facilities. You may contact AHCA by phone at  850-412-4304 or visit their website:          To locate a facility, use the Facility Finder Location Search: AHCA logo                                                                                        
  2. Department of Children and Families for homes/facilities serving children or inpatient facilities providing drug, alcohol and mental health services.  You may contact DCF Headquarters by phone at 850-487-1111 or visit their website: Community Based Care | Florida DCF ( and                                                                                                         DCF Logo                                                                                  
  3. Agency for Persons with Disabilities for homes/facilities serving only individuals with disabilities. You may contact APD by phone at 850-488-4257 or visit their website: To locate a facility, use the APD Provider Facility Locator Search:  apd logo

Frequently Asked Questions:

Disaster Preparedness

Disasters can happen at any time of the year, so to adequately prepare, the group care program recommends using the residential group care preparedness toolkit. The Group Care Preparedness Toolkit is designed as a completely customizable preparedness planning tool for any type of residential facility, but especially those serving the disabled and/or vulnerable populations. Its purpose is to assist facility owners, operators, managers and/or administrators in preparing for and responding to issues that arise as a result of a disaster or emergency. While this toolkit is designed to be as comprehensive as possible, it is not an all inclusive toolkit, but one that can be tailored to each facility by providing a one-stop resource of emergency preparedness forms, procedures, assessments and checklists.

The assessment questionnaires were created based on identified environmental and public health issues, which were recognized by various preparedness resources nationwide, as key needs from previous disaster events. Using this tool will enable a residential facility to be better prepared and better able to respond in the case of a disaster and be prepared to keep their residents and employees protected. This toolkit is not part of any regulatory standard, but is available and encouraged to be used by anyone who may benefit from it use.