Member Sign-in

Please note this login gives you access to resources on this website only. If you want to book training, please log onto the training portal here.

Forgotten your username or password? e-mail us

National Homeless Advice Service

Intensive preventative work with families

Dartford Borough Council and Kent County Council introduced a preventative approach to homelessness among 16 and 17 year olds following the introduction of a revised joint protocol for responding to young people claiming they were homeless.

Joint protocol

Designated members of both housing options and children’s services teams are co-located, with a brief to respond to respond to all enquiries from 16 and 17 year olds and especially where they are leaving a safe family home.

Key features of the intensive work undertaken with the family are as follows:

  • Meeting both the family and the young person within 24 hours of a young person’s initial enquiry
  • Resistance to pursuing life apart as an immediate solution to other problems (although there is some short term emergency accommodation kept available)
  • A Common Assessment Framework action plan drawing in specialist support and training where necessary to alleviate stresses arising from: criminal, anti-social or intolerable behaviours of family members; physical or mental ill health; drug or alcohol abuse; debt and money problems; lack of meaningful occupation or paid employment
  • Weekly meetings with the family and young person at home to monitor take up of support and progress
  • Advice on a longer-term plan for the young person’s leaving home when they are ready
  • Regular live case reviews undertaken together by the team (weekly) and stakeholders (monthly)
  • Professional supervision of the team members by their respective managers
  • Closure of case only if both the family and the young person ask to stop and the team considers this appropriate
  • Escalation of the case to an initial/core assessment undertaken by children’s services if the prevention package is seen not to be effective, and offer of assistance with accommodation under Section 20, Children Act 1989

Back to top


Results in the pilot period (2011/12) were as follows:

  • Just over half the young people interviewed at initial enquiry returned home with no further input from the team
  • 25% returned home with intensive preventative packages in place
  • 15% were assessed as children in need and accepted Section 20 assistance, becoming ‘looked after’
  • The remainder were either supported back to their home authority or rejected assistance

Back to top

Successful features

The key successful features of this strategy were as follows:

  • An immediate response, involving the family, to the initial enquiry
  • A robust reality check on the perception that living apart is the only solution
  • The offer of intensive preventative support (CAF action plan) was coherent, real and delivered by the team and by partner agencies
  • The team maintained consistent contact with the young person and family members

Back to top

Further information

For more information, download the Dartford Young Persons’ Housing Strategy 2009-2012.

Sub Menu