Steps for Setting Up an Adult Foster-Care Business

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An adult foster-care business is an important business in any community. There are adults who cannot take care of themselves, and there are families who don't have the resources to take care of family members who need help. With an adult foster-care business, you can fill a valuable niche in society. There are many tips to keep in mind when setting up such a business, according to Tammy Hendricks, owner of All Our Loved, an adult services business in Maple Plain, Minnesota.

Who, Where and How

Before you begin to set up your adult foster-care business, you must decide who to service, when to service them and how to do so. Adult foster care can mean many things, according to Hendricks. It can consist of permanent-care facilities that take in people who can't care for themselves and care for them, or it can mean temporary care for a certain group of people. Adult foster care can also provide daily care for adults. Adult foster care can take place at a center, in the homes of individuals providing the care, and in the homes of those who need the care.

Decide which adults you want to service, because this will determine who you need to hire. Are you going to service older adults who can't care for themselves because of their age? Are you going to service people of any age that have physical limitations that make it impossible for them to take care of themselves? Are you going to provide service for adults of any age with mental handicaps?

Once you decide who you're going to service, you need to decide where you're going to service them. Will you have a center the adults can live in or one that they can go to during the day? Or will you provide service in your workers' homes or in the homes of the adults who are your clients?

Finally, decide how you want to service your clients. Are you setting up permanent, 24-hour care, or are you providing services for adults who need transitional care? Are you going to have a daytime service where you can take care of adults during the times when their usual caretakers cannot do so? These are all decisions that have to be made at the start, says Hendricks.

Business Setup

Design, rent, remodel or build a building that fits your needs. Furnish the interior of the building to your exact specifications. If you don't need a building, find an office space where you can answer phones, set up appointments and provide services like counseling, interviewing or assigning care.

Make sure that you have the correct license. Go to the clerk of courts or your local sheriff's office and tell them what you're planning to do with your business. They can help you get the right license and direct you to a list of qualifications that you need to meet to become licensed. You might need to take classes, pass tests or hire people certified in certain areas. Getting licensed is usually a process that takes time and requires you to follow a specific procedure. Licenses will also usually need to be reviewed.

You'll want to have a bank account and a financial adviser to help you handle your money. Decide where your money will come from and apply for any local, state, federal or other government grants, loans or financing. Secure funds from investors or hold fund-raisers to make money. Create a budget for your business with the help of your financial adviser. Include salaries, running expenses and money you'll be bringing in.

Set a date for your opening; use local resources like social workers, hospitals and therapy centers to help you find clients. Bring clients into your program. Use the same tools, plus local advertising, schools, colleges, and state and city councils, to begin to build a foster care provider base. Advertise your business. Begin to provide services to your target group of clients.

Evaluate your budget, your finances and your bank account monthly. Be sure to keep track of taxes, any tax-exempt statuses that you're qualified for and any changes that occur in your business as time goes on.