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How to Start a Group Home or Day Care Facility in Northeast Ohio
by Anita Khayat
June 13, 2024

Starting a group home or day care facility can lead to a rewarding career helping people in need.

If your primary goal is anything other than to help vulnerable people, running a group home or day care facility probably isn’t for you. The job requires hard work, long hours, significant expense, and ample frustration, so you need to be able to find your reward in the good you’re doing for others 

A group home or day care facility can refer to many things, but it generally is a facility that provides day or twenty-four hour non-medical care in a structured environment.  They often focus on one of the following:

  • adult day care for the elderly
  • child day care facility
  • elderly residential care / nursing home 
  • people with mental or physical disabilities
  • people dealing with substance abuse
  • adoption / placement group home 
  • young people aging out of foster care
  • people transitioning from incarceration

Note: In the State of Ohio there are at least 13 different types of group homes, each with differing state and local regulations, and the government agencies which oversee them.

Step A: Assess Your Goals, Analyze the Local Market, & Check Local Zoning

Do Step #1 Comparing and Step #2 Analyze. You probably wouldn’t open a pizza shop in a town that already has a half-dozen of them, unless perhaps you had some unique “angle” by which to differentiate yours from the rest. The same principle holds true for group homes — you need to be aware of what the market needs. Also check with your local zoning agency regarding permitted property uses. If a zoning variance is required, obtaining the support of local government representatives is usually necessary.  It is also essential to begin building community support for the purpose of your group home.

Step B: Prepare a business plan with the help of a SCORE mentor. 

Whether you’re starting a group home, a grocery store, or a gardening service, it is always a good idea to draw up a detailed business plan that outlines the goals, needs, opportunities, and obstacles for your new enterprise. A well-constructed business plan will serve as your group home’s guidebook as it gets off the ground — or may even convince you to change your plans.

Step C: Navigate the Ohio “red tape”

Find regulation & licensing requirements for your type of group home, and build a relationship with the relevant State of Ohio and local agencies. If you want your group home to succeed, you need the supervisory local and state (and perhaps federal) agencies to be “on your side.” Without active government support, you will struggle to find residents, keep abreast of licensing rules and regulations, and get the proper financial reimbursements for your work. Ohio regulatory agencies differ by type of group home.

 See State of Ohio Checklists as follows:

Step D: Form your 501C3 Non-Profit entity. 

Depending upon your location, one or both of these may not be necessary, but they are essential steps nonetheless. Take every opportunity to protect the time, effort, and money you are investing in your group home.

See learning resources, including their NP Self-Assessment Tool - Is Starting a Non-Profit Right for You? [may require free registration]

Then see the helpful Guide to Forming an Ohio Non-Profit  and IRS resources to apply for 501C3 exemption status 

Step E: Establish Your Home and Prepare to Launch.

Once you’ve jumped through a sufficient number of bureaucratic hoops, it may finally be time to establish your actual group home. If you have not already identified a good location, do so now, while keeping in mind potential roadblocks.

You will need to find a good site, hire employees, and launch.

About the author
Anita Khayat
Most of my career has been in healthcare adminstration and clinical research. I've started several businesses myself, so understand the detail involved in managing all the licenses, permits, and applications, as well as developing the administrative systems and hiring and training employees.
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1350 Euclid Ave, #216
Cleveland, OH 44115

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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