Depending on the state you live, aside from a business permit or license to start a group home, there are no mandatory certifications needed to start a group home in the United States. In the United States, every state institutes its licensing procedures for starting and operating a group home.

Owing to that, to get adequate information on the needed certifications and licenses to start a group home, you have to be proactive by ensuring that you complete all the necessary steps. Start by contacting your local department of health, human services, social services, or any other unit most likely to handle the operation of group homes in your area. Step up to the state and federal levels as warranted.

Ensure to ask plenty of questions, and be very patient. Don’t forget why you want to render this valuable service to your community. It can never hurt to solicit guidance from existing group home operators as well. Getting advice and guidance from existing group home operators allows you to start a profitable business while satisfying a community need.

You should also take your time to  contact the local small business administration office, charitable organizations division (if starting a non-profit group home), or state attorney’s office. A clear and focused business plan that outlines all the steps necessary to meet these two goals increases your chances for success.

A good number of group homes are standard, single-family houses, acquired by group home administrators and innovated to suit the needs of the residents. Except for any adaptive features such as wheelchair ramps, group homes are more or less indistinguishable from other homes in the surrounding neighborhood. These homes may be located in neighborhoods of any socioeconomic status.

However, you need to understand that every state is different, and group home requirements will surely differ depending on the group you plan to serve. For elderly group homes, seek licensing specifics from your state’s department of aging and disability services. A group home for individuals dealing with autism, down syndrome, and other severe developmental conditions is licensed via the state department of developmental services.

Certifications Needed to Open a Group Home

  1. High School Diploma or GED

On the very basic, you will be expected to have either your high school diploma or your GED. Note that it doesn’t matter if you are starting a group home for teens or an assisted living home, you’ll be expected to have your basic education completed. Owing to that, if you did not complete high school, just go ahead and get your GED before trying to obtain any of the other licenses or certifications needed to open a group home.

  1. General Business License

In the United States, every business is expected to acquire a general business license. You’ll find this to be more than just an application process. However, you should expect to pay a specific fee associated with getting the license, but then there aren’t any significant high cost with obtaining a general business license. It is more or less about providing necessary information regarding the business you will be opening.

  1. First Aid and CPR Certifications

Note that some states mandate anyone looking to Open or work in a group home to hold CPR and First Aid certifications. These individuals who are in charge of the care rendered to residents are expected to be certified to deliver first aid or CPR in emergent situations.

Have it in mind there are numerous ways to obtain these certifications. There are classes you can take through the American Red Cross. Also, note there are other online entities that offer this sort of training too. You only have to make sure that whatever certification agency you choose to do your training through will be recognized by your state’s government.

  1. Home Care License

You have to understand that a Home Care License is used to help regulate certain issues surrounding the care-taking of other people, especially those with special needs. Have it in mind that the provision of this type of license can include things like building safety, the number of residents that can be cared for, health-related topics such as immunization and cleanliness, nutritional guidelines, supervisory expectations, and training requirements.

Notably, every state in the United States institutes its licensing rules to be followed by every group home in the state. A good resource for looking up the requirements in your state is the department of health, or human services, or social services. You can look up your specific state and easily find what is required for you, in terms of licensing, to open a group home.

  1. Food Handlers Certification

A good number of group home workers do a lot of food handling. Owing to that, some states mandate that a food handler certification will be necessary to start and run a group home. The certification will include a course for you and any of your employees to complete and a fee to pay for everything involved with the certification process.

Have it in mind that the requirement is mainly determined based on what other licenses are held by the group home professionals, and whether or not food is actually prepared on-site. If there is no food preparation done at the group home, you may not be expected to have this certification.

  1. Health and Safety Permits

Note that these permits are built around regulations instituted by the government for standards of health and safety. Your group home facility, whether it is for teens or houses special needs residents, will have to meet standards that have been developed to help provide residents with a good and safe place to receive their care in.

In some states, routine inspections are inculcated as a requirement to acquire one of these permits. If you fail to meet up the standards, you’ll be expected to fix whatever it is before you will be granted your health and safety permit. You may also have to face another inspection. Always remember that any cost associated with the change and the inspections will more or less fall on you, the applicant.

  1. Zoning Permits

You will also be expected to find housing that meets licensing and inspection requirements. Ensure to contact the zoning department in your city to find out if you can open a group home in that area. And just like it was stated above, your group home is expected to pass inspection to ensure it is safe and suitable to serve the disabled.

These are a few Certifications and Licenses you need to be wary of when looking to start and run a group home. If you violate any provisions, laws, or requirements, you will lose the opportunity to hold a license for your group home.

Joy Nwokoro