Accommodation Rights of Former Relevant Children


On 12 October 2010, the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in R (on the application of SO) v London Borough of Barking and Dagenham [2010] EWCA Civ 1101.

Former relevant childrenThe Court of Appeal made two important findings about local authorities’ duties to care leavers, i.e. those young people who have turned 18, but who were previously accommodated and supported by social services prior to turning 18. Local authorities owe a range of on-going duties to this category of young person up to the age of 21 (or potentially up to 24 if they remain in education), who are referred to as “former relevant children”. The case concerned the extent to which those duties include duties to provide a former relevant child with accommodation.

The Court of Appeal held that local authorities are under a general duty to provide a former relevant child with accommodation to the extent that his or her welfare requires it.

The second part of the Court of Appeal's decision affects former relevant children who are asylum seekers or failed asylum seekers. It means that in considering whether a former relevant child’s welfare requires the provision of accommodation, the local authority is not permitted to take account of whether or not that former relevant child might be eligible for accommodation and support from the Home Office pursuant to its asylum support functions (previously carried out by the National Asylum Support Service and generally still referred to as NASS).

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