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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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Residential Child-Caring Agency

Contact the Florida Department of Health Residential Group Care Program

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

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 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 sections 393.067 or 394.875, Florida Statutes,or chapter chapter 397, Florida Statutes.

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 section 409.175(6)(e), Florida Statutes,  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 Rule 65C-14.010, Florida Administrative Code. 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 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) or below.
    5. Hold hot foods at 140 degrees 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 degrees 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 degrees 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 degrees 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 degrees F. or below
    3. Hold hot foods at 140 degrees 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 Rule 65C-14, Florida Administrative Code

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

Form Used:  DH 4029