Children and families services: For parents and carers

Types of children and families services Ofsted regulates

We register seven types of children’s social care. We use the term agencies and establishments to cover all of these services.

  • Adoption support agencies
    Adoption support agencies provide counselling, advice and information to anyone affected by adoption as set out in relevant regulations.
  • Children's homes
    Children's homes provide care and accommodation wholly or mainly for children and young people under the age of 18.
  • Independent fostering agencies
    An independent fostering agency is an organisation which recruits, trains, assesses, registers and supports foster carers. Children and young people looked after by a local authority may be placed with foster carers who are registered with an independent fostering agency.
  • Residential family centres
    Residential family centres mainly assess a parents' ability to look after their child and respond to their needs. The centre also provides guidance, support and counselling to parents.
  • Residential holiday schemes for disabled children
    These schemes provide holidays for disabled children. They may operate at any time throughout the year. There is no minimum number of days which they can operate but they cannot operate for more than 56 days in any 12-month period. No individual child may be accommodated for more than 28 consecutive days in any 12-month period.
  • Social work providers
    Local authorities can delegate their statutory functions for looked after children and care leavers to private or voluntary providers: we call these social work providers. and they must register with Ofsted before local authorities can delegate functions to them.
  • Voluntary adoption agencies
    A voluntary adoption agency is a not-for-profit organisation that finds families for children who need to be placed for adoption.  

Annual Report 2012/13