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

Any provider that offers substance abuse services needs to be licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. The services are: View More

3. Which service providers are not required to be licensed by the Department of Children and Families Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office?

Type of Provider


A hospital, or hospital-based component

Licensed under ch. 395, F.S

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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. View More


5. Which body licenses primary substance abuse/ drug rehabilitation facilities in the State of Florida?

Information is maintained in a centralized statewide licensing system: The Substance Abuse Automated Licensure Information System (SALIS). View More

6. What kinds of license are there?

There are three kinds of licenses. View More

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

Licenses must be applied for both initially and annually thereafter, using this form: View More

8. How long does a licensing application usually take?

After an application has been submitted, the district offices of the Department of Children and Families substance abuse program will be in contact within... View More

Recovery Residences


9. 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. View More

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

Licenses are not required to operate recovery residences, so long as... View More

11. Are there any consequences to being ‘unlicensed’?

Because there is no regulatory oversight, some have complained that... View More

12. What kinds 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 and participate in self-help initiatives which promote their goal to live without drugs or alcohol. View More


13. 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. View More

14. 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... View More

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

An online application should be made to Florida Association of Recovery Residences View More

16. 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 and chief financial officers associated with the program. Before the visit, the certification standards should be reviewed: View More

17. How often must I renew certification?

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

Zoning and Land Use

18. What are the protections afforded by federal law to small group homes used for the purpose of residential drug rehabilitation?

A facility with six or fewer people is exempt from zoning and land use regulations based on... View More

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

Recovery residences in some communities have found growing efforts to regulate them by local ordinance, including registration requirements, concentration (spacing) limits, and other requirements. View More

20. 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. View More

Resident’s Rights and Responsibilities

21. What would our obligations to residents be?

To enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use... View More

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

The agreement should include a pledge from the resident to live by the house rules including to .. View More

23. Can we insist on drug tests and searches?

No, recovery residences do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. View More

24. Can a sober living facility bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?

Recovery residences sometimes rely on the drug screening which takes place when the resident attends outpatient services... View More

25. Can we make residents’ obligations contractually enforceable?

If the rules are contained in the tenancy agreement as conditions of residence, and the resident agrees to them upon accepting the tenancy... View More

Governance and Staffing

26. 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... View More

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

Florida Association of Recovery Residences... View More



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The American Addiction Treatment Association (AATA) delivers reliable information and resources on compliance and best practices to enable recovery industry professionals, owners, and operators to navigate the evolving clinical and regulatory landscapes.

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