Manual for the measurement of indicators for children in formal care

Manual for the measurement of indicators for children in formal care

Gathering data on children in formal care

Without data on the situation of children in care, it is difficult for local child welfare authorities and national governments to monitor progress in preventing separation, promoting re-unification and ensuring the provision of appropriate alternative care. The lack of such data also makes it impossible to compare the situation of children in formal care across countries and regions. This manual aims to introduce a set of 15 common global indicators for children in formal care, which includes children living in institutional care or formally arranged foster family care. The manual explains why this information is valuable and offers practical guidance on data collection for governments and non-governmental counterparts.

This manual provides both the tools and analytical framework for gathering data on children in formal care. This is not a one-off exercise, but rather should aim to develop an information system that will allow childcare agencies and local and national authorities to better monitor and improve the situation of children within care systems. This manual contains 15 indicators, four of which are considered core indicators; suggestions on how to map a childcare system to ensure that all childcare providers within a given country or area are included; and tools for collecting data at the level of an individual childcare provider if those data are not yet being systematically collected. These indicators should be informed by data from a national data collection system and coordinated by appropriate government agencies to ensure proper aggregation.

The data and information generated by these indicators can be used to:

  • monitor policy and practice improvements at the level of individual care services and at the national level 
  • help governments, child welfare agencies and child advocates to identify the needs of children in formal care 
  • provide policy makers and managers with information to guide programme development and budgeting
  • support advocacy to improve systems and services for children at risk or in alternative care
  • increase the visibility and status of those engaged in the provision of formal care
  • demonstrate national commitment to globally accepted measures of formal care
  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.