Children: Supported Housing

Department for Education written question – answered on 23rd June 2015.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to raise standards in supported accommodation for children aged under 18.

Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many homeless children aged under 18 are living independently in supported accommodation in each UK region.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

Data is published annually on the number of looked after 16 and 17 year olds living in a range of semi-independent and independent accommodation. Data for the year ending 31 March 2014 is available in table A3 of the children looked after Statistical First Release, which can be accessed via the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/410394/SFR36_2014_National_tables_revised.xlsx

In order to drive improvements in the quality of support provided to care leavers, Ofsted inspections of local authorities’ children’s social care services now include a separate sub-judgement on care leavers, which includes an assessment of whether the local authority is ensuring that care leavers have access to suitable accommodation.

In particular, Ofsted inspects whether:

  • accommodation for care leavers is appropriate for each young person to safely develop their independence skills;

  • care leavers are safe and feel safe, particularly where they are living;

  • care leavers are helped to find housing solutions that best meet their needs; and

  • risks of tenancy breakdown are identified and alternative plans are in place.

This guidance was strengthened in 2015 to make clear that Bed and Breakfast accommodation should only be used in exceptional circumstances and for no more than 2 working days.

Through the Innovation Programme we are testing new ways of helping care leavers to make a successful transition to adulthood, including providing more than £2 million to North Yorkshire County Council to develop its ‘No Wrong Door’ service. This service will provide a consistent, trusted adviser for young people who have been in residential care after they move into supported accommodation, providing them with help and advice and working with housing providers to make the transition to independent living smoother.

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