Commission for Social Care Inspection chair Denise Platt has criticised the “underlying antipathy” to residential care in the green paper on children in care.
She told a conference that some young people preferred or needed to live in residential care.
And if residential care delivered poor quality, councils needed to “rethink their commissioning and contracting strategies”.
The green paper suggested failing residential care services could be placed under special measures and Platt argued this could also apply to fostering services not run by councils.
It also proposed allowing young people to remain in foster care until 21 but Platt questioned what arrangements would be put in place for young people in residential care.
Meanwhile, British Association of Social Workers professional officer Nushra Mapstone said plans in the green paper to set up GP-style social care practices to look after children in care risked making the system less accountable.
She said there were questions to be answered about who would manage independent services and what impact they would have on local authorities’ corporate parenting responsibilities.
Reaction to the green paper