The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000, which commenced in October 2001, requires that all local authorities must provide or maintain care leavers under the age of 18 in “suitable accommodation”. Like any other services for care leavers, the provision of suitable accommodation should be based on an assessment of individual need, taking into account, their health, including any disabilities; their education and training needs; and the suitability of any accommodation provider. Once care leavers reach 18, then they are entitled to have access to the same mainstream services as other young people, including housing services. As their responsible authority has continuing duties to help them plan and to support them, it will be their personal adviser's role to assist them to access the available housing that will be the most appropriate to their circumstances, which in some cases may well involve housing services that offer their residents personal and practical support.
The requirements set out in Section 10 of the Children Act 2004 provide the opportunity to enable improved joint planning to better meet the housing needs of children and vulnerable groups of young people, including, care leavers. The section requires each children's services authority to put in place arrangements to promote co-operation amongst those who engage in activities in relation to children and young people, and gives key strategic partners, including housing authorities, a duty to take part.