Inspectors found that a third of homeless 16- and 17-year-olds who were working with youth offending teams had been placed in unsafe or unsuitable accommodation.
The children whose cases were reviewed by inspectors had all suffered some sort of trauma in their lives. Most had previously been known to children’s services and some were subject to care orders.
The report calls on the departments for Education and Public Services, and Health and Social Services within Welsh Government to work together to develop comprehensive monitoring systems that track the number of 16 and 17-year-olds placed in bed and breakfast or other unsuitable accommodation, and set clear expectations of local authorities to improve.
It also calls on directors of social services in Wales ensure accommodation for homeless teenagers is safe and appropriate to their individual and assessed needs, and that they are not placed in accommodation alongside adults who may pose a risk to them.
Developments in Wales
A Youth Homelessness Prevention Pathway is already being developed by the Welsh Government and statutory guidance covering homelessness and allocations to ensure under 18 year olds are only placed into bed and breakfast as a last resort has been strengthened.
Support ‘vital’ for future outcomes
Chief Inspector Imelda Richardson said of the report:
This important report highlights the need for greater consistency in the quality of support available for teenagers experiencing homelessness in Wales. Such support is vital in ensuring good outcomes for these young people in the future, many of whom are very vulnerable, and I welcome today’s report and the recommendations it makes.
Read the full report on the HMIP website (External link).