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Provision of Accommodation for homeless 16/17 year old children Guidance to children’s services authorities and local housing authorities about their duties.

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Presentation on theme: "Provision of Accommodation for homeless 16/17 year old children Guidance to children’s services authorities and local housing authorities about their duties."— Presentation transcript:

1 Provision of Accommodation for homeless 16/17 year old children Guidance to children’s services authorities and local housing authorities about their duties under Part III of the Children Act 1989 and Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 to secure or provide accommodation for homeless 16 and 17 year old children.

2 The Judgement “... the clear intention of the legislation is that these children need more than a roof over their heads and that local children’s services authorities cannot avoid their responsibilities towards this challenging age group by passing them over to the local housing authorities.” See also R(H) v Wandsworth & R (M) v Hammersmith and Fulham Effectively demands a children’s services response similar that offered to children under 16

3 G vs. Southwark in a nutshell Children’s services authorities should assess whether any lone, homeless child should be provided with accommodation under section 20(1) of the Children Act 1989. Housing authorities’ duties under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 provide a safety net only for those (very few) homeless 16 and 17 year olds who will not meet the criteria for accommodation under section 20. Section 27 of the Children Act 1989 empowers a children’s authority to ask other authorities, including any local housing authority, for “help in the exercise of any of their functions” under Part III. Need close partnership between children services and housing services to support local authority responsibilities for meeting the needs of children in their area. Remember young people who have been looked after have priority need under the homelessness legislation if they become homeless aged 18-20

4 Initial Response Referral to housing - the authority will have an immediate duty to secure interim accommodation (s.188(1), 1996 Act) pending a decision whether any substantive duty is owed under Part 7. Housing services may wish to consider requesting children’s services to assist them in the discharge of the section 188(1) - Housing services will then need to make an immediate referral to children’s services for assessment to establish whether y/p is a CHIN Referral to children’s services - where a 16/17 year old child seeks help, or is referred, as they appear to be homeless then urgent steps must be taken by children’s services to immediately secure suitable accommodation for them. This will mean that the child will become looked after (under Section 20 (1)) whilst their needs, including their need for continuing accommodation and support are further assessed.

5 5 Factors to test whether the child must be accommodated 1.Is the applicant a child? 2.Are they in need? This is an issue for assessment – it might be possible to be homeless but not in need – but this may not generally apply to most children. 3.In area? 4.Requiring accommodation as a result of s. 20(1) factors (a) no person with parental responsibility; (b) lost or abandoned; or (c) person caring prevented from providing suitable accommodation. 5.What are the child’s wishes and feelings (not determinative)? Where (1) to (5) apply then the LA must accommodate the child. The test is does the child need to be accommodated… is it not about whether they ought to be looked after. LAs do not have discretion about use of s.17 “It is not for the local authority to decide that, because they do not like what the duty to accommodate involves or do not think it appropriate, they do not have to accommodate at all.”

6 Suitable Accommodation 1.Placement option determined by the assessment of needs (includes taking account of child’s views) 2.Section 23(2)(f)(i) of the 1989 Act permits local authorities to make such other arrangements as seem appropriate when they place a looked after child. 3.Accommodation could be jointly commissioned with housing services. 4.Other suitable supported placements might include: Supported lodgings Foyers and other kinds of building-based supported accommodation. Placements in independent accommodation with “floating support”, where housing support workers make regular visits to accommodation to assist the child to develop the skills needed to manage in their own tenancy in future. Other housing that offers support to the child.

7 Joint working Joint protocols are required between housing and children’s services to include: Inter-agency arrangements to prevent youth homelessness support young people to remain living with their families. Arrangements for integrated or joint assessment processes where 16 and 17 year olds seek help Agreed timescales (in line with the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families) for assessing whether or not a homeless child is a child in need and will need to be provided with accommodation by children’s services. Arrangements for access to suitable emergency accommodation. Arrangements for access to longer term accommodation with support for young people (including looked after children and care leavers) who need this service. Processes for resolving any disputes arising between children’s and housing services. Arrangements for the provision of accommodation and other services to any 16 and 17 year olds who are neither being accommodated by Children’s Services under section 20 nor have found to be owed the main homelessness duty by housing services Children’s services should be linked to housing authorities’ strategic housing function, and housing authorities should be represented on the Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership

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