California’s board-and-care homes are now termed “Residential Care Facilities.” The state licenses more than 8,100 homes and facilities through its Community Care Licensing regulations, which include residential care and assisted living. Licensing is required whether the care is within a private home or a multiperson facility. Health and Safety Code requirements also must be met if you are assuming the care and supervision of another person for a fee. Only the facility administrator needs to be licensed; however, it is suggested that other administrators involved be licensed in case backup is required.

Attend an orientation session given by the Community Care Licensing Division. The orientation gives an overview of all the rules and regulations, outlines the responsibilities involved in operating a residential-care facility for the elderly, and goes over the steps involved in the application process.

Undertake 40 hours of training. Only the administrator needs this training, but it is suggested that others on the staff attend as backup administrators.

Reveal any other residential-care facility ownership or interest, if the ownership position is more than 10 percent.

Indicate any licensure revocation that occurred in the past, or whether any disciplinary action has been taken regarding a past license.

Show ownership of the physical property to be used as a residential care facility. If it is rented, a signed lease must be included with the application.

Show that your liquid assets are sufficient to cover three months’ operating costs without considering the fees to be received from the residents.

Submit a monthly operating statement, a balance sheet, and the financial information release and verification forms.

Pass the extensive operating requirements for the facility inspection. These include safety clearances, fire-clearance directives, programs, emergency preparation, safeguards for residents’ personal and financial property, activities, and formation of a residents’ council.

Undergo a physical examination of the facility, including patient facilities, feeding preparation, and vehicles used to transport residents.

Provide all personnel records for examination, and submit to a criminal record investigation.

Submit a plan for the medical care of residents, to include medical, dental, and mental health care.

Comply with the food-service requirements as outlined in the evaluator manual.

Pay the annual fee to the California Department of Social Services on time once licensed, or risk losing the license and undergoing the process again. Notices are mailed four months before fees are due.


If only one member of a couple applies for licensing, both members of the couple or household are liable for accidents and injuries.