Formal Care Indicators

Outside of countries in the industrialized world, there is little reliable and consistent country-by-country data on the number of children in formal care, why they were placed there, when their case was last reviewed, whether they have a surviving parent, etc.

In an effort to stimulate the collection of this data, the Better Care Network, in partnership with UNICEF, published the Manual for the Measurement of Indicators for Children in Formal Care. This Manual assists countries in strengthening their information system around formal care. The Manual introduces a set of 15 global indicators for children in formal care, explains why this information is valuable, and offers practical guidance on data collection for governments and non-governmental counterparts. The indicators should be used as a common measurement approach to better monitor childcare practices, inform the development of policy and programs, and facilitate comparison within and between countries.

Since its production, the Manual has been widely distributed to governments and relevant agencies, organizations and UN bodies globally. The Manual is available in hard copy and on CD-ROM. To request a copy or to learn more about the Manual, email the BCN Secretariat at

The Manual is also available electronically through the links below:

BCN is committed to facilitating the collection of reliable and consistent data on the situation of children in formal care. This information is critical for informing policies, programmes, and resource allocation in this field. We encourage our partners to advise us of how you use the Manual, how it can be improved, and any challenges you encountered using the Manual.

The Manual is also available in French here. If you are interested in receiving a hard copy of the French translation, please contact the BCN Secretariat at