Being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. At The Birley Academy we are committed to supporting families in such circumstances. Our Safeguarding Team are aware of the contact details and referral routes into the Local Housing Authority this allows us to raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity.

Whilst referrals and/or discussion with the Local Housing Authority should be progressed as appropriate, and in accordance with local procedures, this does not, and should not, replace a referral into local authority children’s social care where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places a new legal duty on English councils so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have access to meaningful help including an assessment of their needs and circumstances, the development of a personalised housing plan, and work to help them retain their accommodation or find a new place to live.

In most cases The Birley Academy will consider homelessness in the context of children who live with their families, and intervention will be on that basis. However, it should also be recognised in some cases 16-year-olds could be living independently from their parents or guardians, for example through their exclusion from the family home, and will require a different level of intervention and support. Local authority children’s social care will be the lead agency for these children and the safeguarding team will ensure appropriate referrals are made based on the child’s circumstances.

We would encourage any families facing homelessness to seek advice and support at the earliest opportunity from Shelter – Get help from Shelter – Shelter England and/or Sheffield City Council – Help if you’re homeless or at risk of homelessness | Sheffield City Council.