Laura Sharman 20 March 2015

Councils blasted for 'appalling' treatment of vulnerable teens

Thousands of vulnerable teenagers are being turned away by their local council when they seek help after facing homelessness, a new report is warning.

Research from the Children’s Society found that of the 12,000 teenagers aged 16 and 17 asking their local council for help every year, only one in 12 were given the right response and support. Half of these vulnerable teenagers were not properly assessed by the council, with 8,000 sent home without measures put into place to ensure they were not being abused or neglected.

According to the research, of the 2,800 teenagers who did receive accommodation, 1,800 were not given the proper financial and personal support they are legally entitled to.

The charity is warning that this failure could increase the risk of teenagers being sexually exploited or becoming involved in drugs or other illegal activities.

Chief executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said the figures revealed in the report were ‘truly appalling’. He said: ‘We know from our own research that half of all first-time homeless people are under-21, with the majority going through the experience again and again because they don’t get the help they need. This is a tragic waste of young lives.

‘We cannot continue to fail our young people in this way. Councils must carry out proper assessments of homeless people coming to them for help and fulfil their legal duty to house under 18s in decent, appropriate accommodation. At the same time, we need party leaders to review the support given to all single homeless people under the law.’

The report calls councils to ensure they give all 16- and 17-year olds who present themselves as homeless to be given a full assessment from children’s services, and the accommodation used to house these vulnerable teenagers to improve.

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