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Derby City Children's Social Care Procedures

3.2.3 Derby City Council CSC Procedure – S.17 Children Living Independently


Derby City Joint Protocol for Homeless 16 and 17 year olds

Please note the Derby City Joint Housing Protocol for 16- & 17-Year-Olds is currently being updated.

This chapter was added to the manual in March 2022.

This chapter is currently under review.


  1. Introduction
  2. Legal Context
  3. Operational Pathway
  4. Outcome of Assessment
  5. Transitioning to Adulthood

1. Introduction

For all young people aged between 16-18 years and presenting at risk or homelessness the Derby City Joint Housing Protocol should be always followed.

Where a young person is living independently, away from home, DCC has a duty to assess and determine if the Young Person (YP) is a Child in Need (S17) or LAC (s20). Paramount to the decision will the be the young person's views.

Section 20(3) states that every local authority shall provide accommodation for any young person within their area who has reached the age of sixteen and whose welfare the authority consider is likely to be seriously prejudiced if they do not provide them with accommodation.

However, if the YP chooses not to be considered as Section 20, a Child in Need Plan will still be in place under S17 of the Children's Act.

Section 20 & Section 17 of the Children Act 1989

Where the specific duty is owed under Section 20 of the 1989 Act, a 16- or 17-year-old should be accommodated under that provision rather than looking to the general duty owed to children in need and their families under Section 17 of the 1989 Act.

However, if the YP chooses not to be considered as Section 20, a Child in Need Plan will still be in place under S17 of the Children's Act.

3. Operational Pathway

Please refer to Derby City Joint Housing Protocol for 16- & 17-Year-Olds (Pages 11 and 12)

Where a 16/17-year-old presents to Housing Options as homeless or threatened with homelessness, they will be seen by a Housing Adviser who will complete an initial assessment which includes assessment of risk. The Housing Adviser will make every effort to negotiate either a return to the parental home or alternative accommodation with family members or friends if such a placement is safe for the young person. This may be on a temporary basis or permanent. If possible, a home visit will be carried out to facilitate negotiations.

The First Contact Team will deal with all young people presenting as homeless or who are facing homeless, providing the single point of access for all 16 – 17 years olds who need help and support around accommodation and support issues.

Young people presenting as homeless outside of office hours, weekends or bank holidays should be directed to the out of hours CareLine Service.

The responsibility of young people already open to Childrens locality teams remains with the allocated team or will require a step up from Early Help to Social Care.

If there is an allocated YOS worker they should refer to the First Contact team in order for a single assessment to be completed, unless there is a Social Worker in a locality team already allocated to that case in Children's Social Care, in which case, the YOS worker will refer to them to complete the Single Assessment.

All young people must be aware of the differences between S.20 and S.17 withing the assessment process. The assessment must take into consideration the wants and wishes of the young person but also the social workers assessment of the young person's needs to make a professional judgement.

All young people must sign either the S.17 or S.20 explanation form and this must be logged onto the appropriate recoding system.

4. Outcome of Assessment

Where those young people who do not meet the criteria for accommodation under S20 may still be identified as Children in Need under S17 of the Childrens Act because of the single assessment. In these cases, a referral will be made for a multi-agency Child in Need Review and once the placement is stable can be held and stepped across to Early Help to support the young person and will continue to be supported as a Child in Need till, they turn 18 years.

5. Transitioning to Adulthood

Work with young people around preparation for adulthood and independent skills should be the focus of the intervention with the Early Help Team and the Housing Provider through supported hours and this will be reviewed within the CIN review meetings chaired by an IRO.

Through the commissioning housing framework some providers enable young people to stay past their 18th birthday, in their current accommodation, until future housing is secured (through the above-mentioned channels) or up to an age that is defined by individual providers e.g. 25years.

For young people who can remain with their existing provider post-18, the future transition from this provision must be considered within the CIN plan and CiN review prior to the young person's 18th birthday to ensure the young person is aware of:

  • Actions which are required for future transition;
  • The timescale for this work;
  • Any support available to achieve this;
  • Awareness of local area coordinators.

For those whose housing framework do not allow young people to stay past their 18 birthday, close partnership work with housing and commissioning will ensure that no young person becomes intentionally homeless and support from the Early Help Team and Housing will remain until housing is secured as an adult for a period of time.