Young people leaving care forced into â€˜unsafe housing'
A report has found that young care leavers are being forced to live in ‘unsafe housing’ where they feel ‘lonely and scared’ and are at an increased risk of homelessness.
Research by Charity Action for Children has lead the charity to urge policymakers to improve support systems and take care of young people’s emotional and mental well-being to prevent them from failing through the net, reports Inside Housing.
‘The most vulnerable young people who have been in care are forced to grow up too quickly,’ the charity’s paper said. ‘Too many young people who have left care live in unsafe housing, where they feel lonely and scared. They move frequently and many experience periods of homelessness.’
Figures from the Department for Education show the number of care leavers in unsuitable accommodation has risen from 600 to 840 between 2010 and 2013.
The report found that housing for care leavers was often isolated and in run down communities, with care leavers finding themselves in risky environments. When young people refused to live in unsafe accommodation they would lose their place on the housing waiting list.
A spokesperson for Action for Children said: “Children and young people need to feel loved, secure and safe. When the state takes on the role of parent it should ensure that children receive the nurture and security that their families are not able to offer, no matter how complex their lives are.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We have significantly improved the support on offer to young people leaving care. We have changed the rules so children can stay with their foster carers until they are 21 – and we believe no one should leave care until they are truly ready. We are committed to tackling the emotional needs of the most vulnerable young people, and local authorities must produce a care plan for all looked after children which ensures all of their needs are met. They must also be assigned their own social worker who will keep their case under review.”
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Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing
"It was well-run, in a good location, and very useful. I've only one suggestion; as the session went on it would perhaps have been useful for bullet points of general agreement about what should be in the sector response to be displayed and added to as the session went on, maybe on a flip chart. Regarding your response paper, I particularly like the answer you give to question 9. In fact the general: "if it ain't broke don't fix it" response could be pushed harder."
M.P. - Adref Ltd