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This planning tool provides a step-by-step routine for reflection on what a residential placement for children in need is intended to achieve and how children’s homes can improve life for their residents. It is based on the premise that when children are looked after, there is a danger that deficiencies in the quality of care will only aggravate the deprivation and harm that made the separation from their families necessary. An initial reckoning of the needs of the children living in the home is likely to yield more than opinionated generalisation about children’s situations and limited action in areas such as health and education. By taking the broad view mapped out by the tool, needs, services and outcomes can be connected effectively.