This paper is based on qualitative findings from a mixed methods project which investigated the roles of managers of children's homes and the relationship of these to their use of resources and the outcomes for young people in their care. The research formed part of the Costs and Effectiveness of Services to Children in Need research initiative, originally funded by the Department of Health. Main findings from the project overall and in particular from the multi-level modelling analysis indicated that the influence which the process of providing care has on the kind of outcomes experienced by young people is of paramount importance. This paper provides a brief overview of the project and its aims. Drawing on the qualitative strand of the project and overall project findings, the paper investigates three aspects of managing children's homes: establishing working relationships with staff teams, the role of managers and bringing about working with the young people in their care. It situates the role of manager within the wider context of literature on leadership and investigates what leadership in children's homes entails. Finally, the paper highlights the importance of the role of manager in relationship to the development of good practice in children's homes.