How to Open a Group Home for Children, Disabled Persons, and the Elderly in Florida

What is A Group Home?

A group home by definition is a residence that offers full time care for those who are unable to care for themselves. Group homes offer assistance for those who are unable to care for themselves due to age or medical disability and can’t be cared for by family members.

Group homes are usually smaller than other care facilities with more centralized care and fewer residents (usually 6 beds or under). Typically, 24-hour care and supervision is provided by at least one caregiver around the clock. Group Homes are not typically responsible for the personal care of residents such as bathing or using facilities. While health insurance does not typically cover the cost of a group home, long term care insurance might.

Who Can A Group Home Serve?

Children. Children who are unable to safely remain in their homes and have been removed from their parent or guardian may be placed in a home with full time supervision. They are placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families and are then placed in a group home if foster is not a viable fit.

Disabled persons. Persons with disabilities who are unable to care for themselves may also find support in a group home. These facilities can offer training and basic life skills for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This experience can provide an opportunity for education and growth of social skills and basic life functions.

Elderly. Finding the right care for an aging family member can be a difficult decision to make. When there is an aging loved one with special medical needs in the family, it can take a toll on everyone. A group home is a great option for a more personalized care setting. In Florida, group homes offer medical care including transportation to health-related appointments. This setting also promotes socialization and a familiar cozy mood unlike the feel of a sterile nursing home. This can reduce the possibility of loneliness and depression.

Steps to Opening A Facility

Applicants will need to provide their licensing department with a business plan and operations manual along with the prospective location and community plan, geographical plan, zoning requirements, etc. Applicants may be eligible to receive Community Development Grant Block Funding to set up their home. Local community offices provide information on funding and assistance for group homes.

The Department of Children and Families licenses those homes for children under 19 years old without disabilities. In addition to the standard requirements, a group home for minors requires pre-approved menus from a licensed dietician, educational schedules, and daily activities.

The Agency for Health Care Administration is the licensing office for group homes with elderly and disabled patients.

The Department of Health frequently inspects homes unannounced to confirm the standard of living for residents. If the home assists with disabled persons, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities will also offer guidance and provide monthly monitoring visits to ensure that all requirements are met. Staff is usually rotated on a semi-monthly basis to maximize the efficiency of care. Depending on the type of home and number of patients, specialized permits and licensing may be required. Background checks on staffing is always required.


It should be noted that I am not your lawyer (unless you have presently retained my services through a retainer agreement). This post is not intended as legal advice, it is purely educational and informational, and no attorney-client relationship shall result after reading it. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. If you do not have one and would like to retain my legal services, please contact me using the contact information listed above.


All information and references made to laws, rules, regulations, and advisory opinions were accurate based on the law as it existed at this time, but laws are constantly evolving. Please contact me to be sure that the law which will govern your business is current. Thank you.