Six schemes this week received a share of£700,000 from the Department for Education & Skills to set up regional commissioning units for services for children in residential care.
The pilots will operate a central database of specialist care providers that local government commissioners will be able to access to locate services for a child.
A spokesman from the department said: 'The advantage is niche providers local authorities may not have been aware of before will be more visible.'
The pilots will run in the north-east, north-west, west Midlands, the south-west and London.
The sixth cross-regional arrangement is being negotiated.