Regulating children and families services
You may live away from home for lots of different reasons - because you are in care and live in a children’s home, are being fostered or are getting social care support; or because you live at a boarding school, residential special school or further education college.
If you do live away from home our inspectors will visit where you live, or the service that placed you, to check that you are being looked after and cared for properly. For information about inspection, go to the Inspecting children and families services page on the left.
But before someone can set up and run children’s social care we have to make sure they are a suitable adult to look after children and that the place they want to run is suitable for children to live in. This process is called registration.
We register five types of children’s social care:
- children's homes
- residential family centres
- independent fostering agencies
- voluntary adoption agencies
- adoption support agencies.
When we register a person that wants to provide children’s social care this is what happens.
- The person has to apply by filling out forms and sending them to us. Some of the people who will work for them in the centre also need to complete some forms.
- We check the forms to make sure that everyone involved with the new centre is suitable and that they have the qualifications and experience they need to look after children.
- If we think they are suitable, we will then visit them and their staff at the location where they will provide the service.
- If we are satisfied that everyone is suitable and that the centre is a nice place to live, then we will register the person as a children’s social care provider.
- We give them a certificate of registration to prove that they are suitable. They cannot start providing care until they have this certificate and they always have to display the certificate where it can be seen by everyone living or visiting the centre.
- We may find a reason not to register a person; and if we refuse to register them this person cannot look after children.