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Single Point of Entry Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I am interested in opening a group home for youth. What is my first step?
  2. What do I need to ask myself before starting the SPE process?
  3. What types of group homes are licensed by DHR, DJS, and DHMH?
  4. What is the Single Point of Entry?
  5. What happens after I attend a Single Point of Entry Training?
  6. What is an SPE Proposal?
  7. How long does my proposal have to be?
  8. What is COMAR?
  9. What are some tips for writing a good proposal?
  10. What happens after I submit my proposal to GOC?
  11. My SPE proposal was approved. What happens next?
  12. My application was approved by the licensing agency. When will I start receiving referrals?
  13. What qualifications must the Program Administrator of the group home possess?
  14. What are some good rules to follow in developing my proposed program?
  15. Does the State provide start-up money?
  16. How many youth may I have in my program?
  17. Must I allow family involvement?
  18. Is operating a residential child care facility like foster parenting?
  19. How many group homes may I open?

 

1. I am interested in opening a group home for youth. What is my first step?

First you must identify what type of group home you would like to open.

If you are interested in opening a group home that would be licensed by the Department of Human Resources (DHR) or the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) (see the next question) you need to determine if either agency has issued a Statement of Need (SON), Human Services Article §8-703.1.  Effective October 1, 2008, DHR and DJS must issue a SON, which is an official certification of public need for the location and establishment of a residential child care program. A proposal may not be submitted to the Governor’s Office for Children (GOC) until DHR or DJS has issued a statement of need for a residential child care program in a jurisdiction.

If a SON is issued or you are interested in opening a group home licensed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) (see the next question) the next step is to attend a Single Point of Entry (SPE) Training that provides instruction on the proposal, licensing, rate setting, and contracting processes.

 

2. What do I need to ask myself before starting the SPE process?

The process of becoming licensed to operate a group home for children is not easy and will take a lot of time and energy on your part. You need to ask yourself:

  • Am I qualified to run a group home?
  • What experience do I have with the population I intend to serve?
  • What data/information do I have that indicates a program is needed in the area where I plan to locate?
  • Do I have the six months of financial resources the State recommends to start a new business? If I am dependent upon loans, will I have the resources to pay them back?
  • What is special about my program that will make it attractive to placement workers?
  • Do I have the business skills needed to run a small business? If not, whom can I depend upon to help me with the business side?
  • Do I have the management skills needed to run a program? If not, whom can I depend upon to help me with the program side of the business?

 

3. What types of group homes are licensed by DHR, DJS, and DHMH?

DHR Licenses the following types of group homes:

  • Independent Living Programs
  • Shelter Care
  • Regular Group Homes
  • Respite Care
  • Teen Mother Baby Programs
  • Treatment Foster Care

DJS Licenses the following types of group homes:

  • Regular Group Homes
  • Secure Group Homes
  • Shelter Care

DHMH Licenses the following types of group homes:

  • Residential facilities for children with developmental disabilities
  • Therapeutic Group Homes

 

4. What is the Single Point of Entry?

The Single Point of Entry is a central point of information and referral for persons or organizations who are interested in providing residential services to children, youth and their families. GOC is responsible for the coordination and oversight of the Single Point of Entry process. GOC staff  conducts the Single Point of Entry Training and provides technical support to prospective residential child care program providers. Attendance is required at the SPE Training  for all persons interested in operating a residential child care facility. There is a limit of 2 persons per program that can attend each Single Point of Entry meeting. Registration is done online. Confirmations will be sent by electronic mail prior to the meeting date.

 

5. What happens after I attend a Single Point of Entry Training?

After attending the SPE Training, you will be issued the SCYFIS (State Children, Youth and Families Information System) logon and a password needed to submit your proposal online.

 

6. What is an SPE Proposal?

The SPE proposal will be a detailed plan describing your intended program following the guidelines in the Proposal Outline and the COMAR regulations. You will have up to 12 months after attending a Single Point of Entry Training to submit a proposal. You should allow enough time to work through questions or challenges, however, to ensure that the 12-month deadline is not missed.

The SPE Proposal includes the following sections:

  • Face Sheet
  • Proposal
    • Mission Statement
    • Program Administrator
    • Personal or Organization Experience
    • Board of Directors
    • Description of Your Program
    • Assessment of need for your program
    • Marketing Plan
    • Community Relations Plan (14.31.06.09)
    • Educational Plan (14.31.06.12)
    • Health Care Access and Supervision (14.31.06.13)
    • Mental Health Care Access and Supervision
    • Management Plan
    • Program Structure
  • Daily Program Schedule
  • Staffing
  • Resumes
  • Financial Management Plan

 

7. How long does my proposal have to be?

There is no limit on the length. You will need to follow the Proposal Outline and the COMAR regulations (14.31.06) when developing your proposal.

 

8. What is COMAR?

The Code of Maryland Regulations, often referred to as COMAR, is the official compilation of all administrative regulations issued by agencies of the state of Maryland.  As a prospective provider you need to become familiar with the COMAR regulations, especially those governing Residential Child Care Programs: 14.31.02, 14.31.04, 14.31.05, 14.31.06, 14.31.07 and 14.31.09.

 

9. What are some tips for writing a good proposal?

  • Be clear, concise and logical.
  • Make it reader friendly. If the proposal reviewer cannot understand your ideas, your proposal may not be approved.
  • Leave plenty of time to research the type of program you want to develop and whether that type of program is needed in the area you are considering. You will also need time to familiarize yourself with State regulations, policies and procedures that will govern your program.
  • Use the SPE Proposal Outline as it will help you structure the information that is needed in the proposal.
  • Do not use jargon and contractions.
  • Do not rely heavily on acronyms.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. If you are preparing the SPE proposal yourself, have someone else review it for readability and grammar and punctuation mistakes. A well-structured, well-written proposal will be a powerful marketing tool as you move forward in the licensing and contracting processes.

 

10. What happens after I submit my proposal to GOC?

Within 90 days of receiving it, GOC will put your proposal through a rigorous examination. After the review, you will either be asked to provide additional information, or your proposal will be forwarded to the appropriate licensing agency. If you are asked to provide additional information, you will be asked to submit it within 60 days of receipt of the letter or the State will consider your proposal withdrawn. The entire process – including the review of the proposal and any proposal revisions requested by GOC, and the process for obtaining a license by one of the licensing agencies – can take up to one year or longer. The length of time for the entire process will depend on the quality of your proposal submission.

 

11. My SPE proposal was approved. What is the next step?

If your SPE proposal is approved by GOC, an approval letter will be mailed to you which will include the name and contact information for the agency staff person who will follow up with you regarding the licensing process. GOC is not involved with the licensing process.

 

12. My application was approved by the licensing agency. When will I start receiving referrals?

The next step will be to contact the child-serving agencies with which you wish to contract. In order to receive referrals you will first need to enter into a contract. Keep in mind that a contract does not guarantee placements; even after entering into a contract, it can take a while to receive referrals or be at full capacity. GOC is not involved in the contracting process.

 

13. What qualifications must the Program Administrator of the group home possess?

 A residential child care program in the State of Maryland must be under the day-to-day management and operation of a Certified Residential Child Care Program Administrator (CRCCP). CRCCPs are certified by the State Board for the Certification of Residential Child Care Program Professionals. The qualifications for a Program Administrator are:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and at least 4 years’ experience in the human services field, with at least 3 of the years in a supervisory or administrative capacity; OR
  • A master’s degree from an accredited college or university and 2 years’ experience in the human services field, with at least 1 year experience in the human services field in a supervisory or administrative capacity.

Additional information and program administrator applications may be obtained from dhmh.maryland.gov/crccp.

 

14. What are some good rules to follow in developing my proposed program?

You should look at your proposal as your business plan. Give some thought to your vision for your program. Your completed proposal should be a picture of what your program will look like and what it will take to operate it. It should cover all aspects of your business such as: description of your program, operational plan, description of staff and their duties and responsibilities, services offered, start-up budget and operational budget. Please be sure to read through your proposal thoroughly before submission.

 

15. Does the State provide start-up money?

At this time the State does not currently provide start-up money.

 

16. How many youth may I have in my program?

There are several factors that determine the maximum number of youth you may have in your program. These factors include the Fair Housing Act as amended in 1988, COMAR regulations, fire authority, and health and safety.

 

17. Must I allow family involvement?

You must allow parental involvement, unless the Courts prohibit it. Parental involvement can include: family counseling and visitation. It is important that parents and families be recognized because they are one of a child’s greatest resources and should be treated accordingly. The specifics of parental involvement should be discussed with the placement agency and spelled out in the treatment plan.

 

18. Is operating a residential child care facility like foster parenting?

Operating a residential child care facility is a business. It involves providing group care for youth with a formal program of basic care, social work and health care services. It requires administrative and supervisory skills, as well as service delivery in a highly formalized structure. It requires having a reserve of three to six months operating expenses in the bank.

 

19. How many group homes may I open?

As a new entity, licensing agencies will be interested in how you succeed with one program, initially. When licensed, if the program is successful in its initial operation (a period of approximately 15-18 months), you may apply for a license for another facility.

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