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Kent County Council (12 001 464 )

Category : Children's care services > Looked after children

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 24 May 2013

Summary

Kent County Council failed to help a 16-year old with both his housing and welfare needs after he became homeless. It also failed to assess him as a 'looked after' child which meant he missed out on his entitlement to services due to all looked after children (before age 18 and when leaving care).

The complaint

Kent County Council failed to help a 16-year old with both his housing and welfare needs after he became homeless. It also failed to assess him as a 'looked after' child which meant he missed out on his entitlement to services due to all looked after children (before age 18 and when leaving care).  The man approached the council for welfare and housing help when he became homeless after both his parents abandoned him. Although the council offered a foster placement they didn't offer any other housing alternatives. They also failed to help him with his welfare needs. After staying with friends, the man became homeless again at age 18 and the council could not provide him with accommodation because he was not considered in priority need.

Finding

The Ombudsman found maladministration causing injustice. 

Recomendations

The man should have been assessed as a looked after child. To remedy that the council should now confirm him as a leaving care child. In addition, the council should:

  • set aside £3,000 for the injustice caused to him by the loss of welfare benefits over a two year period. This should be used, in consultation with the Leaving Care Team, to promote his independent living and is in addition to the services he is entitled to as a leaving care child;
  • review the implementation of its joint protocol to ensure it is meeting the council’s responsibilities to all homeless young people; and
  • bring this report to the attention of the Council’s Committee and ensure the Lead Member of Children’s Services is made aware of it. 
     

Ombudsman satisfied with the council's response: 18 December 2013

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