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Sober/Transitional Living Facility Resources - Florida

Frequently Asked Questions


1.  What is the "Florida Model" and how does it differ from the "Social Model"?

Both medical and non-medical social model programs offer services designed to promote detoxification, treatment, and maintenance of recovery from alcohol or drug problems. Read More

2.  Which addiction treatment facilities are required to be licensed and what kind of services can they provide?

Any provider that offers substance abuse treatment services needs to be licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office (DCF). Read More

3.  Which service providers are not required to be licensed by the Department of Children and Families?

Type of Provider


A hospital, or hospital-based component Read More

4.  What does it mean to be "licensed," "certified," or "accredited" in this industry?

Licensing means that a particular type of facility or professional may only operate or a certain set of services may only be delivered with the advance and continuous authorization ("license") of a designated government agency to ensure protection of public health, safety, and welfare. Read More


5.  Which body licenses primary substance abuse rehabilitation facilities in Florida?

The Department of Children and Families Read More

6.  What kind of licenses are there?

There are three kinds of license: regular, probationary, and interim.

Read More

7.  What information must be provided in my initial application for licensure?

Licenses can be applied for both initially and annually thereafter using this form: Read More

8.  What will the Department of Children and Families consider in determining whether to grant a license?

While DCF has not yet issued specific rules for minimum requirements for licensure, state law was recently amended as part of the Practices of Substance Abuse Services Providers law, signed by Governor Rick Scott and effective July 1, 2017 to provide certain parameters that DCF will consider in the licensure process. Read More

9.  How long does a licensing application usually take?

After an application has been submitted, the district offices of the DCF substance abuse program will be in contact with the applicant within 30 days... Read More


10.  What are our obligations to patients with regard to payment issues?

Before accepting an individual for admission, both the full charge for services and the fee charged to the individual for such services... Read More

11.  How should programs respond to clients who are unable to pay the required deductibles? Can a program waive a participant's financial responsibility?

Clients seeking drug and alcohol rehabilitative services often face financial difficulties, whether because of the consequences of their addiction or the expense of multiple, prior failed treatment programs. Read More

12.  What are the key issues insurers raise to demand recoupment of fees from substance abuse treatment programs?

Insurers may demand recoupment of fees based on any number of issues, including defects in the billing claims or supporting documentation and/or noncompliance with federal or state laws.  Read More


13.  What marketing practices are prohibited? What disclosures are required?

Florida has recently legislated several new laws relating to marketing in the field of substance abuse treatment. Read More

14.  What are the limits of gift giving to potential referral sources?

State and federal regulators prohibit the exchange of items of value to induce or receive referrals so the giving of any item of value,... Read More

15.  What kind of benefits can I offer existing or new clients?

Providers must avoid giving a patient, prospective patient, or referral source anything of value or benefit. Read More

Recovery Residences

16.  What is a recovery residence?

A recovery residence is an alcohol and drug free environment inhabited by individuals who are attempting to maintain their recovery from substance abuse disorders. Read More


17.  Do we need a license to open a recovery residence?

Licenses are not required to operate recovery residences, so long as they provide only housing and meals to their residents... Read More

18.  Are there any consequences to being "unlicensed?"

Because there is no regulatory oversight, some have complained that many recovery residences are maintained in poor, overcrowded condition... Read More

19.  What kind of services can a recovery residence offer?

Alcohol and drug-free houses (sober-living environments) typically provide a living environment to enable residents to organize activities... Read More

Certification & Accreditation

20.  How can a recovery residence demonstrate to our residents that we are offering a high-quality living environment?

A recovery residence can elect to demonstrate voluntarily that it meets minimum quality standards. Read More

21.  Do we have to obtain certification in order to operate?

The law protects small groups of individuals who choose to live together in peer-supportive environments... Read More

22.  How do I apply for certification and what is the process?

An online application should be made to FARR: http://farronline.org/certification/apply-for-certification/   Read More

23.  What should I do in preparation for the on-site compliance review?

FARR will conduct an on-site inspection, including background checks on the owners, directors, chief financial officers... Read More

24.  How often must I renew certification?

Certification is for one year, at which point it terminates automatically if it has not been renewed. Read More

25.  How does a recovery residence apply for accreditation?

Information from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities is available at: Read More

Zoning and Land Use

26.  What are the legal protections afforded to recovery residences?

The regulation of land use and zoning is traditionally reserved to state and local governments, except to the extent that it conflicts with... Read More

27.  Can local governments put special restrictions on recovery residences?

This area of law is complex and evolving. It is well settled that state and federal law prohibit local governments... Read More

28.  What other aspects should I consider before choosing a location for our recovery residence?

In siting a recovery residence, attention should be paid to potential hostility from neighbors. Read More

Resident's Rights and Responsibilities

29.  What are our obligations to residents?

Obligations include: (1) to enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use; Read More

30.  What kind of agreement should we ask our residents to sign?

The agreement should include: (1) a pledge from the client to live by the house rules...  Read More

31.  Can a recovery residence insist on drug tests and searches?

Recovery residences do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. Read More

32.  Can a recovery residence bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?

Recovery residences sometimes rely on the drug screening that takes place when the resident attends outpatient services,... Read More

33.  Can residents' obligations be made contractually enforceable?

If the rules are contained in the recovery residence housing agreement as conditions of residence,... Read More

Governance and Staffing

34.  What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with recovery resident arrangements?

A housing facility may be structured as a nonprofit corporation, a for-profit corporation, limited liability company, Read More

35.  Are there any other organizations that could be helpful to us?

Florida Association of Recovery Residences: Read More

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