People with developmental disabilities are entitled to services in California. While many developmentally delayed persons are able to live independently or with family, some live in group homes. The California Regional Centers provide placement and funding for group home living. When the centers have specific placement needs that are unmet, they sometimes offer grants to assist in the development of specialized programs. Grant opportunities are not always available, though, so you will have to be in regular contact with the Regional Centers.

Determine the Regional Center that serves the area in which you want to open a group home. Every county in California is served by one of the 21 Regional Centers.

Contact your local Community Care Licensing (CCL) office. This is a separate organization from the Regional Center that grants licenses to operate care homes in California. Tell CCL representatives that you want to open a care home, and that you would like to attend their licensing orientation. Attend orientation.

Apply for a license. The licensing process will vary depending on the type of home that you decide to open. Your license is only good for one location, and cannot be applied to another location. If you have to move the location of your facility for any reason, you must apply for another license.

Contact the Regional Center serving your county. Ask to speak to the person in charge of program development or special programs. Tell her that you are interested in opening a group home, and ask if the center has any grant opportunities available. Available grants also will be posted on each Regional Center's website.

Fill out a letter of intent or proposal form for the grant if one is currently available. Evaluate the description of the project that the Regional Center wants to develop. A link to a recent project posted by the Valley Mountain Regional Center for which grant funding was available can be found in the resource section.

Submit your completed proposal. Ensure that your proposal and program design explicitly state how you will meet the center's current need, and be certain to include all of the information requested for the project.

Prepare for an interview. After reviewing your application and proposal, a representative of the Regional Center may interview you and other applicants in person. There is no set list of questions that the Regional Center will ask. In general, you should be able to discuss your experience with providing services to the population in need of services, your past successes with similar projects, your ability to successfully integrate clients into community settings and your overall vision for the proposed home.

Wait for the Regional Center's decision. The winner will be notified after a brief waiting period.


Make sure that your program design explicitly meets the current need of the Regional Center. It is offering tens of thousands of dollars in grant money to develop a special program that specifically meets a need. If your proposal does not convince them that you will meet their need, you will not win the grant.


Determine your ability to meet the need. If you don't think you would enjoy working with developmentally disabled children with violent behaviors, don't compete for a grant to open that type of home.