Local authorities are failing in their legal duty to protect teenagers who are ending up homeless and at risk of abuse as a result, a new report claims.
According to young people’s charity Coram Voice, the leading causes of homelessness among children are family breakdown, abuse or violence in the home.
The report also claims that councils are turning children away without performing adequate assessments or offering necessary support. This inaction means that many local authorities fail to uphold the Children Act 1989. Section 20 of the Act stipulates that it is their responsibility to “provide accommodation for any child in need within their area”.
The findings were based on an analysis of 40 case reports from the charity’s “Outreach” programme.
Ten respondents were children who, despite being known to social services, had not been taken into care. A further 22 were young adults who had not been taken into care as children even though they had ended up homeless. As a result, they were not entitled to care leaver status so they could not access appropriate support.
Coram Voice Director Andrew Radford said the charity had encountered “far too many children who have been forced to leave their homes” only to be turned away by their local authority and end up living on the streets.
The solution, he added, was relatively simple. If local authorities followed the law “most of the problem would be resolved”.
To read the full report, click here.