How to Start a Residential RHY Program

Skip to Content

Accessible Navigation and Information

Use the following links to quickly navigate around the page. The number for each is also the shortcut key. You can jump to:

You are on this page: How to Start a Residential RHY Program

This page explains the process programs must complete to become licensed to operate a residential RHY program. For questions on these processes, please contact your local RHY Services Coordinator at the municipal Youth Bureau or RHY@ocfs.ny.gov.

OCFS Certification

Any program providing residential services to runaway or homeless youth under the age of 18 must be certified by OCFS; additionally, programs serving homeless young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are strongly encouraged to become certified. Programs must be certified by OCFS to be eligible to receive state RHY funding.

Obtaining an Operating Certificate (license to operate residential RHY program)

The following steps summarize the process a program must complete to become certified to operate a residential RHY program in New York State:

1. Apply to the local RHY Services Coordinator

Programs applying to become certified to operate a residential RHY program must submit form OCFS-4836, along with all corresponding documents, to their local RHY Services Coordinator. (If your county does not have an RHY Services Coordinator, please contact your OCFS Regional Office.) This is referred to as the “application packet”. The application packet contains information about the need for the program, proposed program operations, and detailed descriptions of how the proposed program would support the health and safety of all future clients.

2. Submission to OCFS Regional Office

If the RHY Services Coordinator approves of the application packet, the packet is forwarded to the OCFS Regional Office. The Regional Office will review the application and, if the application contains the necessary information, will schedule an inspection of the proposed program site. The site visit will include a full review of the proposed program, including an inspection of the physical space, for fire safety, security, and appropriateness.

3. Submission to OCFS Home Office

If the Regional Office approves of the application packet and proposed program site, the application packet is forwarded to OCFS Home Office. Home Office will review the application packet in detail. This review includes an assessment of the agency’s fiscal viability to operate the proposed program and a legal review.

4. Approval

Upon approval, OCFS Home Office will notify OCFS Regional Office, the RHY Services Coordinator, and the agency’s Executive Director. An operating certificate and approval letter will be mailed to the agency to be hung in the program space. A program may open its doors to youth as soon as the operating certificate arrives.

Amending an Operating Certificate

There are some instances where a certified program may need to amend their operating certificate including (but not limited to):

  • Change the bed capacity of the program
  • Change the age of youth served by the program
  • Change the model of the program
  • Change program location (move)

In each of these instances the program would need to obtain a new operating certificate using the process described above.

Becoming an Interim Family Home

Individuals and families interested in sheltering runaway youth may apply to operate an Interim Family Home. Interim Family Homes are monitored by Interim Family Programs (IFP), which are in turn licensed by OCFS. In order to be eligible to operate an Interim Family Home, individuals must be: at least 21 years old, able to provide a safe and supportive environment that is responsive to the needs of RHY, and sponsored by a licensed IFP. Additional requirements are detailed in 9 NYCRR Subpart 182-1.11.

The following steps summarize the process to operate an Interim Family Home:

1. Identify an IFP willing to sponsor new homes.

To learn where IFP currently operate, please refer to the directory of RHY programs.

2. Complete forms OCFS-2134 and OCFS-2135

Together with the sponsoring IFP, complete form OCFS-2134 (Interim Family Certification Form) and OCFS-2135 (Interim Family Home Study Report).

3. Apply to the local RHY Services Coordinator.

The IFP will submit forms OCFS-2134 and OCFS-2135, along with all corresponding documents, to the local RHY Services Coordinator. This is referred to as the “application packet”.

If the RHY Services Coordinator approves of the application packet, the packet is forwarded to OCFS for consideration.

4. Approval

Upon approval, OCFS will notify all interested parties. A certificate and approval letter will be mailed to the IFP. Interim Family Programs may begin sheltering youth in an Interim Family Home as soon as the certificate arrives.

5. Annual Renewal

Interim Family Homes need to be recertified on an annual basis. In order for an Interim Family Home to be recertified, the IFP must submit to the RHY Services Coordinator form OCFS-2136 (Interim Family Annual Report) along with a new application.