What to Expect During a Health Inspection

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All Foster Parents are required to have an official health inspection performed on their home prior to becoming licensed.  Below is the Baltimore City “Check Off” list for reference, below that is the Baltimore County requirements.


More information can be found at http://www.baltimorehealth.org/ecology.html

Or view the PDF at http://www.baltimorehealth.org/info/FosterCheckOff.pdf







Exterior Home Check:

1. Walkway or sidewalk

- should be no broken or bulging cement

2. Gutter and downspout

- should be intact and in good condition

3. Exterior wood trim

- should not be peeling or splintering

4. Steps and hand-railings

- should be sturdy and intact

5. Front and backyard

- grass and vegetation should be trimmed short; should be litter free

6. Window screens

- should be installed for summer use if windows are to be opened

7. Refuse containers

- should be sufficient in number and in good condition with tight-fitting lids

8. Pets

- should be properly licensed and vaccinated

9. Exterior of home and roof

- should be in good repair (no leaks); structurally sound; no broken or missing window panes

10. Barriers for in-ground and above-ground pools*

- child-safe fencing at least 4 feet high is required to keep children safely away from pool; above-ground pool owners are required to fence and to gate the entrance (steps) to the pool


Interior Home Check

11. Plumbing

- should have hot and cold water under required pressure supplies to all sinks; should have workable toilet(s)

12. Furnace (heating/air conditioning system)

- should be in good repair with regular maintenance (suggest annual service contract)

13. Electrical system

- should have adequate house-power and be in good repair with no exposed or frayed wires

14. Electrical outlets

- should be plugged or covered

Foster and Family Care Check-Off 1

15. Housekeeping

- the home should be neat and clean and free from vermin infestation (roaches, rodents, etc.)

16. Room walls, floors and ceilings

- should be of durable construction and in good repair

17. Smoke detectors

- required by City ordinance; recommend one for each house level and in each bedroom of foster or family day care child

18. Fire extinguisher

- suggest 2A10BC type be available (or multi-purpose ABC type)

19. Radiators

- should be covered with approved radiator covers in all rooms used by care program

20. Food and food service

- should be from safe, unadulterated source; food should be handled, prepared, transported, served and stored in a safe and healthy manner as required

21. Dishwashing

- suggest using approximately 1 or 2 ounces of bleach in detergent dishwash water; or use disposable plates and flatware

22. Household appliances (refrigerator, cooking stove, etc.)

- should be in good repair and in satisfactory working condition

23. Thermometers

- are required for all food service operators; refrigerator/freezer type thermometers that are graduated in 2 degree Fahrenheit or Celsius intervals shall be provided in all cooling and freezing units.

24. Bedroom space requirement (for foster care)

- single bedroom should be minimum area of 70 sq. ft.; double bedroom should be a minimum area of 100 sq. ft. (50 sq. ft. per person)


For additional information, please contact:

Bureau of Ecology and Institutional Services

210 Guilford Avenue, 2nd Floor,

Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Phone: 410-396-4411.



Baltimore County

Public Health Environmental Inspection Application


Food Handling

  • Food not in the original package is stored in labeled and dated containers.
  • All opened food packagees are resealed.
  • Food is obtained only from approved sources.
  • Home canned food is not provided for clients.
  • Equipment, dishes, utensils, and glasses are kept clean.
  • A monitoring thermometer is required in refrigerators/freezers to insure that potentially hazardous food is stored at safe temperatures.
  • Chemical products are not stored with food or disposable products suchs as plates, cups, utensils, or paper ware.
  • Cockroaches and pests are not present in stored food products.

Safe Food Storage Temperatures:

  • Refrigerated Food:  45 degs. F or below
  • Frozen Food: 0 degs. F or below

Kitchen/Dining Room

  • Furniture, walls, cabinets, appliances, sinks, and equipment are free of grease, food debris, or dirt build-up.
  • Perimeters of floors, areas behind and underneath appliances are clean and free of debris.
  • Exhaust hoods and filters over ranges are clean.
  • Trash cans are kept clean.  If used, liners are removed daily.
  • Refrigerator interiors are clean and free of dried-on food debris, spillage, odorous containers of spoiled leftover food, rotting vegetables and fruits, and broken eggs.
  • Shelving and bins are clean and are not rusted.
  • Interiors of ranges, microwaves, toaster ovens, and other appliances are clean.
  • Glasses, dishes, utensils, pots and pans have been cleaned before storage.
  • Interiors of cabinets, drawers, and food storage containers are clean.

Living Room/Family Room

  • Floors and rugs are cleaned and vacuumed.
  • Furniture is free of food debris and soil.
  • Furnishings are dust-free.
  • Fireplace areas are being maintained.
  • Window coverings are clean and free of dust.
  • Rooms are free of cobwebs and clutter.


  • Walls, floors, ceilings, and tiles are clean and free of mold and mildew.
  • Toilets, showerheads, grab rails, tubs, sinks, and faucets are clean and free of mineral deposits.
  • The interiors of medicine cabinets and sink cabinets are kept clean and the contents organized.
  • Exhaust fans are operational and free of dust and dirt.
  • Glass shower doors or curtains are clean and free of mold and mildew.
  • Bathroom trash cans are clean and emptied as needed.
  • Bath accessories (i.e. rugs, toilet tank/lid covers, mirrors, toothbrush and soap holders, and towels) are free of soil.
  • Non-slip bath mats / decals for the tub.


  • Furniture, bed linens, curtains, and rugs are clean, free of stains and odors.
  • Furniture interiors are free of food debris.
  • Closets are organized and uncluttered.
  • Clean clothing is stored on hangers, hooks, or in drawers.
  • Walls, floors, and ceilings are clean and free of dirt, dust, and cobwebs.
  • Dirty clothes are kept in cleanable hampers.
  • Smoke detectors are required in every bedroom.
  • Windows are screened.


  • Floors are clean.
  • Storage is organized and limited.


  • Boxes and articles are stored uncluttered.
  • Floors are dry, swept, and kept clean.
  • The area is periodically aired out and free of mildew and other odors.
  • Walls, ceilings, furniture, and storage are free of cobwebs.
  • No items are stored within 3 ft. of the furance / hot water heater.

Client Areas

  • Lockable storage area is available for clients’ medication.
  • Bed linens and towels are available to each client.

Storage Closets / Areas

  • Shelving and floors are clean.
  • Contents are organized on shelves or storage racks.
  • Botoom shelves are at least 4 to 6 inches above floor.

Exterior Premises

  • Driveways, curbs, and sidewalks are in good repair.
  • The yard is clean and free of litter and hazards.
  • Play equipment is in good repair.
  • Trash cans have fitted lids.
  • There are no mice, rats, or stinging insect problems.
  • Swimming pools are being maintained.


  • Pet dogs, cats, and ferrets have had their rabies vaccinations.
  • There are License #s or verification of innoculations for these pets.
  • Other pets (turtles / birds) have a Certificate of Health.
  • Litter box is clean.
  • Pet areas in the living areas, basements, or garages are clean and free of odors.
  • Pet food is not a source of pest problems.
  • Packages are resealed or enclosed in covered containers.

Private Water Supply / Sewage Disposal System

  • The well is properly protected from contamination.
  • The sewage disposal system is operational.
  • Raw sewage is not leaking from the disposal system.
  • The plumbing system is in good repair.
  • Hot water temperatures are between 100 degs. F and 120 degs. F.


  • Walls, floors, and ceilings are in good repair.
  • Doors and windows are vermin proofed.
  • Screens and door flashings are installed.
  • Cracks and crevices in the kitchen/bathrooms are closed with an approved caulking compound.
  • Adequate lighting is available in all areas.
  • Building exterior is in good repair.


  • All containers of housekeeping products are labeled as to their contents and usage.
  • Emergency phone numbers are posted by telephones.
  • Each floor has an operational smoke detector.
  • A 2A-10BC or larger rated fire extinguisher is mounted in the kitchen.
  • Grab rails/grab bars are provided whereever necessary.
  • Stairs are free of storage.
  • Rug guards and stair treads are provided.
  • Hot water avialble to clients is periodically checked to prevent scalding accidents.
  • Flashlights are available for emergency use.
  • A fire evacuation plan has been devised and practiced.
  • Gasoline powered equipment is safely stored outside.
  • Basement bedrooms meet Fire Department requirements.
  • Safety covers for electrical outlets.
  • There are no tripping hazards.
  • Housekeeping supplies and other chemicals, such as pesticides, are stored safely or in locked areas.

Lead Paint

  • Houses built prior to 1978 and with visible paint deterioration/chipping may be subject to a lead paint inspection.


For more information about the Public Health Environmental Inspection Application, please contact

Baltimore County

Department of Permits and Development Management

County Office Building, Room 101

Towson, MD 21204

(410) 887-6008

(410) 887-3616