Facility Types


The Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD), Children’s Residential Program licenses several categories of children’s community care facilities.  CCLD is responsible for all aspects of licensing and the enforcement of Title 22 licensing regulations and interim licensing standards. Some of the licensing functions include: conducting orientations, application review and processing, providing oversight of the homes/facilities, consultation, technical assistance, conducting complaint investigations, participating in legal consultations, processing administrative actions, and caregiver background checks.  A brief description of each licensed children’s residential category and program are as follows:

Crisis Nursery:


A facility licensed to provide short-term, 24-hour non-medical residential care and supervision for children under six years of age, who are placed by a parent or legal guardian due to a family crisis or a stressful situation, for no more than 30 days.

Adoption Agency (AA):


Nonprofit organizations licensed to assist with the permanent placement of children to adoptive parents.  The AA is governed by the Community Care Facilities Act. 

There are two types of AA:

Full-service adoption agency: A licensed entity providing adoption services, that does all of the following: (A) Takes responsibility for the care, custody, and control of a child from when the child is placed with the agency or when there has been an involuntary termination of parental rights to the child. (B) Assesses the birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, or child. (C) Places children for adoption. (D) Supervises adoptive placements.

Noncustodial adoption agency: A licensed entity providing adoption services, that does all of the following: (A) Assesses the prospective adoptive parents. (B) Cooperatively matches children freed for adoption, who are under the care, custody, and control of a licensed adoption agency, for adoption, with assessed and approved adoptive applicants. (C) Cooperatively supervises adoption placements with a full-service adoptive agency, but does not disrupt a placement or remove a child from a placement.

Foster Family Agency (FFA) and the Foster Family Agency Suboffice:

A foster family agency is a public agency or private organization, organized and operated on a nonprofit basis that does any of the following: (A) Recruiting, certifying, approving, providing training for, and providing professional support to, foster parents and Resource Families. (B) Coordinates with county placing agencies to find homes for foster children in need of care. (C) Provides services and supports to licensed or certified foster parents, county-approved Resource Families, and children.  An FFA suboffice is any additional, independently licensed office set up by the foster family agency to supplement the services provided by the administrative office.

Foster Family Agencies Most Common Deficiencies Cited 2016

Types of homes overseen by FFA and FFA suboffices are:

Resource Family Approved Home (RFA): After January 1, 2017, individuals applying to provide care for a foster child will apply though the resource family approval (RFA) process.  By January 2019, all certified family homes must be converted to Resource Families.  The RFA process will streamline and eliminate the duplication of existing processes, unify approval standards for all caregivers regardless of the child’s case plan, include a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, home environment check and training for all families (including relatives), prepare families to better meet the needs of vulnerable children in the foster care system and allow a seamless transition to permanency.

Certified Family Home (CFH): Currently CFHs are foster parents certified by an FFA to provide care for six or fewer foster children in their own home.  The home may include their children and/or family members and be a home which is owned or rented. The placement may be by a public or private child placement agency or by a court order, or by voluntary placement by a parent, parents, or guardian.  FFAs are now converting CFHs through the Resource Family Approval process.

Licensed Foster Family Home (FFH):


In order to care or continue to care for a child or nonminor dependent in foster care, all state and county licensed homes must be approved as Resource Families no later than December 31, 2019. If you have any questions please contact RFA@dss.ca.gov.

An FFH is a home where a county or state licensed foster parent provides care for six or fewer foster children (or up to eight if they are a sibling group) in their own home. The home may include their children and/or family members and be a home which is owned or rented.  The placement may be by a public or private child placement agency or by a court order, or by voluntary placement by a parent, parents, or guardian.

CDSS Licensing Program provides consultation, technical assistance and training to 39 California counties who are charged with enforcing Title-22 FFH licensing regulation and Interim Licensing Standards.

The 39 contracted counties are Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Marin, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, and Yuba.  

Foster Family Homes Most Common Deficiencies Cited 2016

Small Family Homes (SFH):

A facility or home, that provides 24 hour care for six or fewer children who have mental health disabilities, or developmental, or physical disabilities and who require special care and supervision as a result of their disabilities.  A small family home may accept children with special health care needs.  In addition to accepting children with special health care needs, the department may approve placement of children without special health care needs, up to the licensed capacity.

Group Home (GH):

A GH provides 24-hour non-medical care and supervision to children and nonminor dependents up to age 19, in a structured environment, with services provided by persons employed by the licensee.  Children in a GH are in treatment programs under court jurisdiction or as dependent children removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.  

GHs include five subcategories:

Community Treatment Facility (CTF):  A CTF provides 24-hour non-medical care and mental health treatment services to children in a secure environment, which are less restrictive than a hospital.  A facility's program design is subject to program standards developed and enforced by the State Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

Care for Children Under the Age of Six:  A GH program which provides care for children under the age of six years who are dependents of the court, regional center placements, or voluntary placements who are not accompanied by the minor parent.

Minor-Parent Program:  A GH program that serves pregnant minors and minor parents with children younger than six years of age, who are dependents of the court, nondependent, voluntary and/or regional center placements, and reside in the GH with the minor-parent, who is the primary caregiver of the young child.

Enhanced Behavioral Supports Home: A facility certified by the State Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and licensed by CCLD as a group home that provides 24-hour non-medical care to individuals with developmental disabilities who require enhanced behavioral supports, staffing, and supervision in a homelike setting.  An enhanced behavioral supports home has a maximum capacity of four residents.

Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter: A runaway and homeless youth shelter is a group home for up to 25 youths, licensed by CCLD to operate a program providing voluntary, short-term, shelter and personal services to runaway or homeless youth ages 12 to 17 or 18 if they are completing high school or its equivalent. 

Group Homes Most Common Deficiencies Cited 2016

Facts You Need to Know - Group Home Board of Directors
Important Group Home Administrator Certification Information

Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP):

A residential facility licensed by CCLD and operated by a public agency or private organization that provides short-term, specialized, and intensive therapeutic and 24-hour care and supervision to children.  The care and supervision provided by an STRTP shall be non-medical, except as otherwise permitted by law.

There are two subcategories of STRTP:

Care for Children Under the Age of Six: An STRTP which provides care for children under the age of six years who are dependent of the court, regional center placements or voluntary placements who are not accompanied by the minor parent.

Dependent and Nonminor Dependent-Parent Program: An STRTP that cares for minor or nonminor dependents who are pregnant or parenting children younger than six years of age, who are dependents of the court, nondependent, voluntary and/or regional center placements, and reside in the STRTP with the minor or nonminor dependent parent, who is the primary caregiver of the young child.

Out-of-State Group Homes:


The Out-of-State GH provides residential care for the State’s most difficult juvenile court wards and dependents whose needs cannot be met in a California licensed GH.  Counties identify out of state facilities that provide unique programs for children not available in California.  Licensing staff certify these out of state facilities and monitor the facilities for compliance with California laws and regulation.  Out-of-state GHs are generally larger in size than six bed GHs typical of California. CDSS may only certify an Out-of-State GH that meets the same standards required in California. CCLD provides regular ongoing monitoring and inspection of the licensed Out-of-State GHs.   


Family Code 7900-7912
Out of State Group Home Certification for Youth Turning 18
Out-of-State Certified Group Home Listing
Out-of-State Group Homes Certification and Annual Reports
Certification Process for Out-of-State Group Homes
Special Incident Reporting Guide
Most Common Deficiencies

Temporary Shelter Care Facility:

A temporary shelter care facility is a facility owned and operated by the county or on behalf of a county by a private, nonprofit agency that provides for 24-hour non-medical care for up to 10 calendar days, for children under 18 years of age who have been removed from their homes as a result of abuse or neglect.  During the child’s stay, the county is identifying and placing the child with a suitable family member or in an appropriate licensed or approved home or facility.

Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP):


A licensed provider who operates programs which include supportive housing and a wide range of supportive services to youth from 16 to 21years of age, who are in or were formally in foster care on their 18th birthday.  Supportive services shall include: counseling, educational guidance, employment counseling,
job training and assistance reaching emancipation goals outlined in a participant’s Transitional Independent Living Plan, the emancipation readiness portion of a youths’ case plan.

The THPP may oversee two types of programs:

Transitional Housing Placement Program: An independent living program that serves foster children at least 16 years of age and not more than 18 years of age.

Transitional Housing Placement + Foster Care Program (THP + FC): An independent living program that serves youth age 18 to 21 who are in foster care or who had been in foster care at age