South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures
South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures

3.3 Provision of Accommodation to Homeless 16 and 17 year olds (Responding to Youth Homeless)


This document has been written to provide some guidance to managers and workers undertaking Social Work Assessments and providing support to young people who present to Plymouth City Council as homeless or at risk of homelessness.


  1. The Housing Pathway
  2. Access to Accommodation
  3. Useful Contacts

1. The Housing Pathway

The Zone has a contract with Plymouth City Council to provide housing advice and interventions to young people aged 16 to 24 who are homeless or at risk of homeless.

This includes the requirement to offer mediation to young people and their families in order to overcome family disputes.

Where The Zone is not able to resolve issues or the child is imminently homeless or actually homeless, then The Zone refer to the Intensive Support Team (IST).

IST is a Youth Service Provision who provide intensive interventions including: direct work with young people and their families; support to the family to participate in a Family Group Conference; support to access housing (private rented accommodation) and supported accommodation via ' The Hub' (where Benefits are in place).

If the young person is "street homeless," (i.e. not able to secure any accommodation), or IST are not able to problem solve, then the young person will be referred to Children's Social Care.

Where IST have provided an intervention the referral will be accompanied by a CAF which should detail the outcome of consideration of an Family Group Conference (FGC), referral and family plan (if an FGC was held).

Children's Social Care is required to complete a Social Work Assessment and in the majority of cases this assessment will include a joint assessment (meeting) with a Housing Officer.

Where this is not possible, a copy of our assessment and details of the outcome will be provided to the Housing Department to enable them to undertake an assessment in line with their legal responsibilities.*

In joint assessments it is Children's Social Care who are the lead or senior partner.

Youth Offending Service Referrals

The YOS will seek to refer young people to Children’s Social Care where the young person is at risk of homelessness and interventions, including direct work with the young person and their family, have not been able to resolve the issues. The YOS are also required to consider the need for a Family Group Conference. Any referral must be supported by a copy the young persons “ASSET”.

These are not young people who have been remanded to care or the secure estate - this group are automatically owed duties as “looked after children”.

* Where a copy of the assessment is not available, written confirmation from the Team Manager, Children's Social Care, that the young person is not deemed to be owed duties under Section 20 (Children Act '89), or has declined the offer of services will need to be provided before the Housing Department can proceed to consider their duties and responsibilities.

In order to arrange a joint assessment the social worker should contact a member of the Housing Team, who will arrange for Housing Officer to be available to support the assessment process.

Recording of assessments:

  • It is crucial that recordings are accurate and unambiguous;
  • Copies of assessments should be given to young people;
  • Signed copies of the assessment should be retained on the young persons file.

Quality of the discussion - informed decision making:

  • Local Authorities have been held to account within Judicial Reviews where it was found that the young person did not make an informed decision to decline services under Section 20 CA 1989, or felt under undue pressure to decline and request that Housing exercise their duties.

Young People from out of area:

  • We have a duty to assess (Section 17 Children Act '89);
  • However, the guidance supports the LA in seeking to "return" the young person to their home authority.

Parent "unable to parent" where the young person refuses to return home:

  • There is minimal case law that suggests that the LA will not be held responsible for services under Section 20, where there is a parent who is willing to over accommodation, but the young person refuses to return or move to the accommodation being offered.

Young people and partners:

  • Where a young person presents with a partner, it is crucial that the assessment considers the partner and we do not refuse an assessment on the basis that we have a couple, or we "prejudge" the outcome because of the age of the partner, or our knowledge of the history.

Intentionally homeless:

  • Ensure that a clear statement is obtained from the Housing Department that the young person is not owed duties and the reasons for that finding; in the case of "intentionally homeless" young people, the only way that "housing" via the local authority can be obtained is by way of the Section 20 Duty.

2. Access to Accommodation

Emergency/short-term accommodation

  • Raglan Court;
  • B&B.

B&B is not considered "suitable accommodation" and should be used as a last resort. An exit strategy will be agreed as a matter of priority.

Medium/long term accommodation (supported)

  • Supported Lodgings.

Children's Social Care has a contract with 'Young Devon' for the provision of Supported Lodgings. These tend to be planned placements.

  • 'The Hub'.

The Hub is a panel of Supported Living Providers. They meet fortnightly to consider referrals and make matches to available vacancies within the projects in the city.

3. Useful Contacts

The Zone: 01752 206626

IST: 01752 312561

Housing Department: Ext 5951; Ext 7573

Young Devon (Supported Lodgings): 01822 618193