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How to Open Group Homes in Indiana

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Welfare officials and administrators involved in creating public policy struggle to find living arrangements for individuals who wish to live independently but, at the same time, need partial assistance to meet their day-to-day living needs. Group homes for mentally or emotionally challenged individuals, as well as for senior citizens, provide economically-sound solutions to this dilemma. Not all elderly citizens or otherwise challenged individuals can live in a group home, but many can, receiving the care that they need within an independent living environment. Social Services in Indiana offers clear guidelines for opening a group home in Indiana.

Submit an application for a Supervised Group Living Home (SGL) License for Residential Care Providers to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Detail the group home facility's capacity, site and health inspection/fire safety records on a SF 48160 form (obtained from the local division office of the Indiana FSSA) and submit it with the application for a license.

Demonstrate compliance with Indiana FSSA Fire and Life Safety Standards and submit the information with the application for a license to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

Draw up an organizational chart which shows the corporate or partnership structure of the agency or board which sponsors the SGL. Submit the organization chart with the application for a license to the Indiana FSSA.

Obtain a certificate from the local zoning authority which will allow a group home to operate on the site. Submit the certification with the application for a license to the Indiana FSSA.

Create a floor plan for the SGL. Specify the number of occupants expected to live in each bedroom. Specify the number of showers/tubs, lavatories and toilets in the SGL. Demonstrate compliance with regulations that mandate that the SGL provide easy and free access to all areas of the group home. Show the existence of safety features such as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, rails, fire extinguishers and emergency call buttons throughout the home. Submit the floor plan with the application for a license to the Indiana FSSA.

Submit a description of the SGL facility. Specify the group home's location and available nearby supportive services (medical services, hospital, community centers, religious services, fire protection, water and sewage system, shopping, and transportation). Submit this description with the application for a license to the Indiana FSSA.

Note (via a signed statement from the SGL's Executive Officer) that the SGL will not locate less than 1,000 feet from any other FSSA licensed supervised group living home. Submit this note with the application for a license to the Indiana FSSA.

Demonstrate accreditation from a the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (or show plans that such accreditation will come within twelve months of Indiana DSS licensing.) Submit this accreditation proof with the application for a license to the Indiana FSSA.

Submit a program description for the SGL which includes facility treatment and philosophy orientation, program services offered, description of population served by the SGL, criteria for admission, transfer and discharge of clients, and program services and goals of the SGL. Include information about staffing and community resources. Submit this program description with the application for a license to the Indiana FSSA.

Submit the license application to the County FSSA office in which the group home will operate.

Obtain liability, theft and fire insurance for the group home. Obtain malpractice insurance if the SGL will offer any medical care.

Obtain first aid and CPR certification for all staff members.

Register the group home with Medicaid and the Social Security Administration. Supplemental Social Security and Medicaid approval allows the SGL to accept residents through Social Security Benefits. Medicaid and Social Security approval of a group home depends on local State certification.

Set up financial accounting and administrative procedures for the group home. Prepare monthly rent charges to the residents' insurance companies, to the residents or to their families or to the governmental agency which pays for residents' care.

Register the group home with the Indiana Department of Revenue for State tax purposes and with the IRS for federal tax purposes. Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS for hiring staff. If the SGL will operate as a non-profit entity, register it with the IRS under Section 501 as a non-profit organization, and then register it as a non-profit with the Indiana Department of Revenue.


Laurie Rappeport is a writer and blogger with more than 10 years of experience. Her areas of expertise are in education, child development, travel, pets, nutrition and health for Demand Studios and a major travel website. Rappeport holds a Master of Arts degree from Wayne State University.

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