Starting a group home is exciting and rewarding–but demanding as well. Group homes are for disadvantaged populations, such as physically and mentally disabled adults, foster children, the homeless or juvenile delinquents. Running a group home can provide you with significant income, but you must be prepared to spend a lot of time getting it set up and ready to open for business.
1) Call your state’s department of human services to get laws and guidelines for group homes. On the local level, contact your county’s department of children and family services to see if there are additional local requirements. To be licensed, you must follow all regulations. 2) Write a “Statement of Purpose” for the group home. You will use this document in countless way, such as applying for licenses and grant money. Include a mission statement, the population you will serve and how you will serve them. 3) Incorporate your business as a tax-exempt, nonprofit business. Called a 501(c)(3) for the section of the tax code it’s listed under, nonprofit status will make you exempt from federal and state taxes, leave you eligible for grants, allow you to do fund-raising, get cheaper mail rates, ask for public service announcements from media and give you some limited liability. Use a tax attorney to set this up. 4) Find a house to serve as the group home. The department of human services can tell you what is required as far as furnishings, equipment and space. The home will have to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You may run into some roadblocks when looking for homes. Some neighborhood associations prohibit this type of business. 5) Set up a volunteer board and start fund-raising. It takes a huge amount of money to open a group home because states have strict regulations. Make a realistic budget. It will be a great help to have successful businesspeople on your board. 6) Hire staff. Some states require a licensed social worker to be a part of the staff. You may need a “qualified professional,” also known as a QP. This person is trained in certain types of social service work. If you have children in your home, you may need to provide teachers. You’ll also need someone to clean and a cook who can prepare meals that follow the government dietary guidelines. 7) Market your group home, so you start to receive clients. Depending on your target population, market to doctors, hospitals, schools and other nonprofits.Good group homes usually don’t have any trouble getting referrals.