Job & Family Services Office of Families and Children
General Requirements and Information

Thank you for your interest in serving the children of Ohio in need of temporary and/or permanent out-of-home settings.  The process to become certified in Ohio can be arduous.  For this reason, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) provides the following list of resource information:  

The functions for which ODJFS certification is required are as follows:

1.   To operate a children's residential center(s).

2.   To operate a group home(s).

3.   To operate a residential parenting facility(ies).

4.   To operate or provide independent living arrangements.

5.   To act as a representative of ODJFS in recommending family foster homes for certification.

6.   To act as a representative of ODJFS in recommending treatment foster homes for certification.

7.   To act as a representative of ODJFS in recommending medically fragile foster homes for certification.

8.   To act as a representative of ODJFS in recommending pre-adoptive infant foster homes for certification.

9.   To accept temporary, permanent or legal custody of children.

10. To place children for foster care or adoption.

11. To participate in the placement of children in foster homes.

12. To participate in the placement of children for adoption.

13. To operate a children's crisis care facility(ies).


Application Process:

 As part of the application process, ODJFS will require the applicant to submit the following information:

1.    The name and address of the organization; 

2.    The proposed purpose and function of the organization; 

3.    The type of program (how large, what it does, what types of children it serves); 

4.    The specific services to be provided; 

5.    The proposed staffing plan;

6.    Sources of funding and plan for ongoing funding; 

7.    Anticipated referral sources (from whom children will be referred); 

8.    If the organization is currently incorporated, submit a copy of the current Articles of Incorporation; 

9.    If the organization is NOT currently incorporated, submit a copy of your proposed Articles of Incorporation and three letters of reference for each incorporator verifying that the person(s) is "reputable and respectable" pursuant to ORC rule 5103.04. A check to cover the filing fee required by the Secretary of State must accompany the  proposed Articles.

10.   Policies, plan, and or assurance statements as expressed by OAC 5101:2-5-13.

 After ODJFS reviews the material submitted by your organization and determines the application packet to be complete and accurate, a Certification Specialist will contact the applicant to set up an onsite inspection. For an application packet, additional information, or to be connected with a Certification Specialist in the field office nearest your organization, contact the OCF Helpdesk at 866-886-3537 (option 4).


Helpful Links: -  eManuals: a Help Guide is available in PDF from the eManuals site, it contains serveral updates, including static links to individual eManuals.

  1. To access applicable rules, select Children and Families; Family, Children, and Adult Services Manual; Rule Index, or Licensing Rules.
  2. A tutorial is available to assist in navigating, searching, and printing from the eManuals site. Access the tutorial at:  - LAWriter Ohio Laws and Rules:

  1. For information pertinent to the application process for all organizations subject to certification by ODJFS, see Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 5101:2‑5 entitled, Child Care Agencies.  For policy requirements see OAC Rule 5101:2-5-13.  
  2. For information pertinent to the operation of foster care programs, see OAC Chapter 5101:2 5, Child Care Agencies and OAC Chapter 5101:2‑7, Foster Care.
  3. For information pertinent to the operation of residential facilities, which includes requirements for the operation of children's crisis care facilities and residential parenting facilities, see OAC Chapter 5101:2‑9 Children's Residential Centers, Group Homes, Residential Parenting Facilities.
  4. For definitions pertinent to all organizations subject to licensure by ODJFS, see OAC rule 5101:2-1-01, Children Services Definition of Terms.
  5. For information pertinent to the operation of adoption programs, see OAC Chapter 5101:2‑48 Adoption.  
  6. Depending on the functions the agency will be applying to operate, OAC rule 5101:2-5-03 may require compliance with other Chapters of the OAC.  These Chapters are 5101:2‑39, 5101:2‑42, and  5101:2‑47. In addition, select rules in Chapter 5101:2-33 may be applicable as well. - LAWriter Ohio Laws and Rules:

  1. Applicants are also responsible for reviewing Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapters 5103. Placement of Children and 3107. Adoption, which can be found through the internet at the following address:  - For information pertaining to Articles of Incorporation  - General information regarding the State of Ohio  -  For information pertaining to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Office of Families and Children.