Every child should have a safe and secure place to call home. However, in our work we frequently come across children and young people living in inappropriate and unsafe accommodation for long periods of time, whether as a result of local authorities failing to provide adequate housing for families, or social services not providing the support to which children are entitled.
Just for Kids Law's latest report, Not in Care, Not Counted: A legal loophole reveals that hundreds of vulnerable children facing homelessness are being left to fend for themselves without support in unregulated children’s homes due to a legal loophole. We are calling for the law to be changed so that no child under 18 can be placed in unregulated accommodation and denied their right to be taken into care.
In 2021, Just for Kids Law partnered with Homeless Link to publish a useful new resource for front-line professionals in the voluntary sector who support 16- and 17-year-olds faced with homelessness. The guidance has been created so professionals can identify what support a child is entitled to at any point in their journey and assist them to access their rights.
Through research conducted as part of our State of Children's Rights report, we have revealed how increasing numbers of families with children are being housed in inappropriate B&B-style accommodation - many for longer than the legal limit. In response, we set up the Change it! campaign, which supports children and young people to speak out about their experiences of living in B&Bs, and stand up for their rights to adequate housing provision. Together they produced a report with first-hand testimonies and a video about the reality for children living in unsafe temporary accommodation, as well as meeting with policymakers such as housing minister Heather Wheeler MP. Our Change it! campaign was funded by Comic Relief, who produced this video of Cameron - a young Change it! campaigner. In the video, Cameron shares his experiences of living in unregulated accommodation, and the ways Just for Kids Law has helped him.
In 2019, we became members of the new Housing Panel convened by the Mayor of London and Trust for London, giving us the opportunity to bring the voices of vulnerable children and young people to the heart of the debate on homelessness in London.