Making the difference for young people moving on from care
The Children Act 2004
The Children Act 20043 sets out the process for integrating services for children so that every child can achieve the five outcomes laid out in the green paper Every Child Matters:
Enjoy and achieve.
Make a positive contribution.
Achieve economic well-being.
The requirement to be appropriately accommodated on leaving care is seen as contributing to the outcome of staying safe.
The 2004 act established children’s trusts4 which are local area partnership arrangements bringing together key agencies to deliver better integrated and more outcomes focused services for children, young people and their families. The statutory guidance sets out that some of the key agencies have a statutory duty to co-operate, including the district authority in two tier authorities, police, health, youth offending teams, probation and learning and skills councils. Housing can be involved in children’s trusts but are not a statutory partner.
The distinction between the accommodation duties local authorities owe to young people based on which category they are fall under in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 has led to several legal challenges brought on behalf of young people. These cases have attempted to clarify where the parameters of local authority duties lie. 5
White Paper Care Matters: Time for change
The White Paper Care matters sets out how the Government intends to improve the outcomes of young people and children in care. In the chapter on transition to adulthood the Government set out its proposals regarding
3 For more about the Children Act 2004 see www.leavingcare.org/professionals/law rights/children act 2004 For more information on children’s trust see http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/aims/childrenstrusts/ For recent case law see www.leavingcare.org/data/tmp/2498-5586.pdf 4 5
A home not a safety net