Job & Family Services Office of Families and Children
Foster Care and Residential Agency Certification and Licensing

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) oversees Ohio’s foster care and adoption providers and agencies. It licenses agencies to provide foster care, adoption and/or residential services for children, to make sure they are fit to provide care and fit to authorize others to provide care.

ODJFS licensing staff conduct announced and unannounced inspections of all licensed foster care agencies and facilities. They also inspect a sample of foster homes licensed by each agency. Several types of agencies require licensure: 

• County public children services agencies (PCSAs).
• Residential programs and group homes operated by PCSAs.
• Private child-placing agencies, which accept temporary or permanent legal custody of children. These agencies may operate residential facilities – such as group homes, residential centers and crisis care facilities – or independent living programs. They recommend foster homes for certification and place children in foster and/or adoptive homes.
• Private noncustodial agencies, which provide many of the same services as private child-placing agencies but do not accept legal custody of children.
• Local public entities that are not PCSAs but operate residential programs (for example, juvenile courts). 

If you are interested in opening a licensed foster care/adoption agency, click here for more information about the requirements and application process. You also can email FOSTERCARE_LICENSING@jfs.ohio.gov if you have questions or information requests.

If you are ready to submit your initial inquiry, fill out the online form. The information you submit will be sent electronically to ODJFS licensing staff, who will review it. You will then be assigned to a licensing specialist. This specialist will contact you to continue the licensing application process.

After you’ve been assigned to a licensing specialist, you may fill out your application. Your licensing specialist will give you a copy of JFS 01290, “Application for Certification of Agency Functions.” You can also find a copy of this form in the list below.

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Updates and Modifications TheFoster Care Licensing Procedure Manual (FCLPM) may be updated as deemed necessary by the FCLPM Review Committee. Newly posted and revised procedures are then added to the FCLPM when updated. The FCLPM is fluid and there are plans to update it in 2021 to support automated system and rule changes, but in an effort to be transparent and in response to requests we have received, we are publishing the entire Procedure Manual on the ODJFS/Office of Families and Children/Foster Agency Licensing Webpage. 

Limitations The FCLPM does not supersede federal law, Ohio Revised Code (ORC), Ohio Administrative Code (OAC), or any protocol established by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, or the Office of Families and Children. The FCLPM is not legally binding.  

County Directory
Ohio Children's Alliance
Map of foster care licensing field offices and supervisors 
eManuals and rules 
Ohio Revised Code 
• Ohio Administrative Code  

Agency Master List  

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about FCASPL 314 (Criminal Records Check Procedures for Child Care Staff, Foster and/or Adoptive Caregivers and Applicants)  

FCL Quarterly Compliance Report APR TO JUN 2017  

FCL Quarterly Compliance Report JULY TO SEPT 2017  

FCL Quarterly Compliance Report OCT TO DEC 2017