Local authorities have duties towards children and young people in need and to their families.
Section 17(1) of the Children Act 1989 imposes a duty on all local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children ‘in need’ within their area. In so far as it is consistent with that duty, authorities should promote the upbringing of such children by their families by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children’s needs.
A child is anyone under the age of 18.
A homeless child or young person under 18 is usually a child in need.
See Shelter Legal: Children in need for more information.