Any good parent wants to make sure their children enjoy good emotional and physical health, an excellent education and a wide range of opportunities to enjoy their childhood so that they have every chance to grow up into successful, well rounded and mature adults. Local authorities are responsible for making this happen for the children they look after.

This guidance contains the requirements set out by Government to support local authorities who are responsible for working with children’s homes providers so that the children they look after are given the best possible care and support.

It provides guidance to local authorities in England and their staff, about their functions under Parts 3 and 6-8 of the Children Act 1989. It is issued as guidance under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 which requires local authorities in exercising their social services functions, to act under the general guidance of the Secretary of State. Local authorities should comply with this guidance when exercising these functions, unless local circumstances indicate exceptional reasons that justify a variation.

In addition it provides guidance to providers of children’s homes about their responsibilities under the Care Standards Act 2000. Local Authorities in acting as commissioners of places in children’s homes should be aware of and take note of the requirements on those providers under this legislation and reflect it in their commissioning standards and contract specifications. This guidance helps them to do this.


  • Introduction
  • Ensuring the best for children and young people
  • Governance, systems and processes
  • Secure children’s homes
  • Annexes