How to Start a Group Home in Maryland

by David Stewart

Operating a group home is a fulfilling way to contribute to the community. You can start a group home for juvenile youth, the elderly or mentally ill persons. All these areas are governed by different departments in Maryland. Complying with the regulations the departments prescribe is the first step toward establishing a group home. You also must consider the space, infrastructure and staff you require to manage the home activities efficiently.

Find out what type of group home is needed in your area. Check if there are other homes already existing in your area and study the type of service they provide. Speak to staff at local health centers, hospitals and rehabilitation centers to get feedback about people who need such a facility. Collect details of their age and state of health to decide if you should start a therapeutic group home, a home for delinquent youth, or a home for adults with mental health illnesses.

Get information about the state laws governing the operation of a group home. In Maryland, three state agencies are authorized to provide licenses and monitor the operation of group homes: the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Juvenile Services and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. To start a group home for delinquent or status offender youth, contact the Maryland Office of Children, Youth, and Families. To start a therapeutic group home or a group home for adults with mental illnesses, contact the Mental Health Administration of Maryland.

Find a suitable location for the group home by considering the requirements specified by the licensing authority. Ensure the home has the prescribed square footage of space for bedrooms, bathrooms and living spaces and other features such as locking mechanisms and handrails. Arrange for inspections and submit compliance reports along with the license application form and other relevant documents.

Advertise for staff you will need to assist you in running the group home. Conduct an interview to identify persons who are qualified and meet state requirements. Conduct a background check to verify the absence of a criminal record before hiring applicants.

Consult an attorney and draw up policies regarding admission and discharge and resident care. Advertise your group home through local hospitals, health and rehabilitation centers and churches and prepare to receive your residents.

About the Author

Hailing out of Pittsburgh, Pa., David Stewart has been writing articles since 2004, specializing in consumer-oriented pieces. He holds an associate degree in specialized technology from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute.

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