In 2010, the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare reported that there were 18,000 children and youth housed in Ontario group homes. Group homes host children and youth who cannot live in foster care or who are experiencing emotional or behavioral difficulties. The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services licenses group homes in the province. Individuals starting a group home in Ontario must develop a business plan, comply with provincial law, understand child behavioral development, and undergo a group-home licensing procedure.

Develop a business plan. Write a business plan that includes budget projections, hiring plans for qualified child supervisors, an explanation of how the business will comply with reporting requirements to the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, and a plan for marketing the home to potential clients, such as the 53 Children's Aid Societies in Ontario.

Know the applicable law. Group homes must observe certain reporting requirements for incidents of child abuse, accidents or injury to staff and residents, as well as periodic reporting to the Ministry of Child and Youth Services. Read and understand the Child and Family Services Act, which is the law that governs how children are placed into the custody of the province.

Read about emotional and behavioral development in youth and children. Many children who are placed in residential facilities are diagnosed with behavioral and developmental difficulties, such as conduct disorder, drug abuse, or suicidal tendencies. Prepare to hire personnel who can address these behaviors, including therapists and counselors.

Apply for a license to operate a group home with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The ministry is authorized by law to approve group home operators. Contact the ministry directly for a list of licensing requirements.