16 and 17 year old young people at risk of homelessness
1. Aim of protocol
Some young people may present as homeless or at risk of homelessness because they have either left home or find it difficult to remain living at home. This is often due to conflict with parents and difficult family circumstances, and sometimes because of abuse and harm.
The protocol was introduced in response to the House of Lords judgement in the case of (R)G v Southwark (2009). The judgement clarified the legal responsibilities of Children and Young People’s Services towards homeless 16- and 17-year-old young people and the inter-relationship duties under the Children Act 1989 and homelessness legislation.
Buckinghamshire Children’s Services and Homeless Services have a joint statutory duty to meet the needs of young people aged 16 and 17 years who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
There is a clear legal framework for co-operation between children’s services and housing services to meet the needs of children and young people. Section 27 of the 1989 Act empowers a children’s services authority to ask other authorities, including any local housing authority, for ‘help in the exercise of any of their functions’ under Part 3; the requested authority must provide that help if it is compatible with their own statutory or other duties and does not unduly prejudice the discharge of any of their own functions. The Children Act 2004 broadened and strengthened the statutory framework requiring co-operation between relevant statutory services to improve outcomes for children and young people. Core legal requirements are set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children, making it clear what individuals and organisations should do and what they can expect of one another.
This protocol sets out how Buckinghamshire Children’s Services will work in partnership with Homeless Services and Housing providers to safeguard and promote the welfare of young people aged 16 and 17 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.