Coram Voice’s report The Door is Closed details the experience of 40 children and young people helped by Coram Voice to challenge decisions by Children’s Services which led to them becoming homeless. It is the result of a unique programme in which Coram Voice has been working with solicitors and a youth homelessness centre in London.
Following the report, Coram Voice is asking the Government to put pressure on local authorities to meet their obligations in terms of children who present as homeless including carrying out a proper assessment during which the child is accommodated and potentially taken into care.
- Failure by local authorities to comply with their legal duties to protect teenagers is leaving this vulnerable group homeless and at risk from abuse.
- Children’s Services often tell children who present to them as homeless to go back to their families or “sofa surf”.
- Local authorities sometimes pass homeless children to housing departments who find them accommodation in hostels for vulnerable adults where they can feel threatened.
- Once children turn 18, local authorities often close their cases. If they try to get their cases re-opened they just encounter a bureaucratic brick wall.