In 2021, Just for Kids Law partnered with Homeless Link to publish a useful new resource for front-line professionals in the voluntary sector who support 16- and 17-year-olds faced with homelessness. The guidance has been created so professionals can identify what support a child is entitled to at any point in their journey and assist them to access their rights.
Young people who become homeless aged 16 and 17 are protected by and entitled to support from different pieces of legislation. The legislation young people are housed under will affect their journeys in and out of homelessness, the support they are entitled to in the short and long term, and therefore their risk of future homelessness.
Recent Just for Kids Law research has however shown that not all local authorities provide young people with the information they need to be able to make an informed choice. Each year, local authorities accommodate an estimated 2,585 homeless 16- and 17-year-olds without making them looked-after children, which has extensive long-term implications on the support they will receive for years after.
Though some of these young people will have made a fully informed decision not to enter care, many others would not have been given the option or fully informed of the consequences of their choice.
Professionals supporting young people should be equipped to assist them through their interactions with local authorities, provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions and ensure they are housed through the most appropriate legislation so that their needs are met.
To find out more about about why this resource is so important for front-line professionals in the voluntary sector, including an explanation of the current law surrounding homeless 16- and 17-year-olds and its shortcomings in practice, you can read this blog.
In July 2021, Mital Raithatha (Head of Education & Community Care) and Sophie Conway (Advocacy Manager) took part in a capacity-building event organised by our partners at Homeless Link during which they used case studies to illustrate the rights and entitlements covered by the guidance in a practical way. You can find the recording of this event and the slides below.