Young People's Housing Advice

Young people's housing and support options in Devon

Children's Services

Children's Services Section 20

A Children's Services worker can offer support if you are facing homelessness. They can work with you and your family to try sorting problems so that you can return home. If the worker and you think it’s unsafe, or you are unable to return home, they will help you look at other accommodation.

If Children's Services help you with accommodation you will become a child in care. This isn’t the same as going into foster care as a young child; they may help to find you a place in a supported housing unit. They will work with you to draw up a Pathway Plan; this will say what you are looking to do and how people are going to help you manage this. It will cover important things like training, education, contact with your family and friends and your health. It will also cover how they are going to help you get ready to live independently. The worker will expect to meet with you regularly and you will need to attend review meetings and have a health assessment. The worker has a legal obligation to contact your family and keep them informed and to make sure they are working with them to support you.

If you are looked after for more than 13 weeks you will become a care leaver. This means that the Care Leavers’ Service can work with you until you are 24. They will review your Pathway Plan every 6 months and until you are 18 they will pay for your accommodation and living costs. After your 18th birthday you can claim benefits if you need to.

Local housing departments can offer extra help to care leavers once they turn 18. Normally, help is more limited for people who are not care leavers. If you turn 18 before you’ve been in care for 13 weeks you will still get support from your local housing department, but you will not become a care leaver. Your local YES centre or housing department can give you more advice about this.


Social Care - The Inside Story

A short story about a girl who followed the Children's Services route. She decided to be accommodated through a host family (SLS) but this is not the only option that is available if you decide to follow the Children's Services route.

Support and Advice provided by Children's Services when your 16/17 and homeless.

If you're aged 16/17 and become homeless, your local district council may refer you for an assessment of your situation and needs to the local authority, Children's Services. Normally this assessment will take place with the Housing Worker you have been working with, but not always.

The assessment will look at your health, your emotional and social wellbeing, education and training and family background. The Worker from Children's Services will really need to understand why you have become homeless and look in detail at your family background. They will want to explore with you and your family whether they can support you to return home. This is called an initial assessment.

If you and your family would like support to live together again then you may be referred to Family Intervention Services, or for a family group conference. While this support is being provided and if you have been placed in temporary accommodation, hopefully that should continue while you sort things out with your parents.

If you can’t return home and Children's Services have fully assessed you have no family members who can care for you, and you feel you need the support then the Worker who has been assessing your needs will talk with you about your options. These could be:

  • Having a named Social Worker or Support Worker

  • Being supported with money and food vouchers while you apply for benefits

  • Providing you with temporary accommodation whilst we support you to find more suitable accommodation

  • Supporting you to access a range of services to meet any needs you may have

Children's Services can support all the above and you would be a ‘child in need’ in legal terms. The other route is to become a ‘Child in Care’:

  • Having a named Social Worker or Support Worker

  • Being supported with money and food vouchers plus Children's Services will fund any accommodation charges (pay for you to live somewhere)

  • Providing you with temporary accommodation whilst we support you to find more suitable accommodation

  • Supporting you to access a range of services to meet any needs you may have

  • Support you with education up until you are 24/5 years old.

  • Providing you with advice and guidance from ages 18-21

All of this means that you need to fully engage with the support and services provided by Children's Services.  You would have a pathway plan. This would mean meeting regularly with your worker (at least every 6 weeks), attend meetings called Child in Care Reviews and Pathway Plan reviews. Your Worker would also put in place a health assessment and help you access all the relevant services like GP, Dentist, etc. Children's Services will also want to support and work with you around your education, training etc.

  • That level of support is available until you are 18. After the age of 18 the amount of support that is provided changes. The biggest change is that Children's Services will stop in most cases paying your accommodation costs (they may continue however if you are in full time education) At this point the Local Housing Department will advice you about your housing options and in some case will provide you with accommodation. This is because you have now left care and are a ‘care leaver’. This type of support from the Housing Department can last until you are 21.

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