Last updated:2023-09-18
Local authorities failing destitute migrant children
Almost two-thirds of homes provided by London local authorities to children and their parents under safety net legislation are unsuitable, according to research commissioned by Hackney Community Law Centre and Hackney Migrant Centre (Charlotte Threipland, A Place to Call Home: A Report into the Standard of Housing provided to Children in Need in London).
Some of the mainly migrant children were found to be living in local authorityprovided homes with no kitchens, no heating, or infested with rats, insects or mould.
The research looked at accommodation provided by 21 local authorities under Children Act 1989 s17, which places a duty on authorities to safeguard children who are ‘in need’ but have no right to other welfare services, often because of their immigration status.
Researcher Charlotte Threipland found a mother and two children sleeping on a bare floor, after being given accommodation without a bed. In one case, a family shared a single cooker hob with the occupants of 50 other rooms.
According to figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request, six London local authorities provided 1,570 families with s17 support during a six-month period in 2014.
Threipland warned that the ‘right to rent’ provisions in the 2014 Immigration Act will only increase the numbers dependent on s17, because people will be blocked from obtaining other types of accommodation.