If you are under 16, you normally need your parents to agree if you want to leave home. But, if for some reason you feel that you can no longer live with your parents; or if your parents have told you to leave home, then Children’s Services may consider whether they should provide accommodation to you.
What are my options if I’m under the age of 16 and homeless?
If you are homeless, you may want to stay with a friend’s family or another member of your extended family for a while. This is likely to form a kinship care arrangement and may be a short term option. Depending on your age the family you are living with can ask the court to give one or more adults in the family Parental Responsibility over you. This will allow them to make important decisions on your behalf together with your parents and any other person who has parental responsibility for you. You may also decide to live with a person you are not related to and this would form a private fostering arrangement. Children’s Services must be informed about this as soon as possible.
If you do not have anybody to stay with you can contact your Children’s Services department. They should find somewhere for you to live. This is known as section 20 accommodation and you will be considered looked after by Children’s Services which means you will get support, advice and guidance.
Children’s Services may place you in residential care. Residential care is where you stay in large houses with several other children who would generally be in a similar position to you. There are other options: you may be placed with a foster family or Children’s Services may be able to help work out an arrangement for you to stay with a family member or a friend. Children’s Services may also try and do some work with you and your parents to see if you could go back home to your parents.
Children’s Services will think about what you want before deciding where you will live under section 20.
Find out how you can access support with this issue by contacting the Coram Voice free Advocacy Helpline for Children and Young People on 0808 800 5792 or visit www.coramvoice.org.uk/alwaysheard