We understand that being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. The DSL (and any deputies) are aware of contact details and referral routes into the Local Council Homelessness Team so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity. Indicators that a family may be at risk of homelessness include household debt, rent arrears, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour, as well as the family being asked to leave a property. As appropriate, we will make referrals and/or hold discussions with the Local Housing Authority. However, this does not, and will not, replace a referral into children’s social care where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm.
We will consider homelessness in the context of children who live with their families, and intervention will be on that basis.
We recognise in some cases 16- and 17-year-olds could be living independently from their parents or guardians, for example through their exclusion from the family home, and will require a different level of intervention and support. Children’s services will be the lead agency for these young people and the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) will ensure appropriate referrals are made based on the child’s circumstances. In these cases will follow the department and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government joint statutory guidance on the provision of accommodation for 16 and 17 year olds who may be homeless and/ or require accommodation.