Yesterday the Legal Government Ombudsman (LGO) recommended that a County Council pay a 16 year old £3,000 to be used in conjunction with its leaving care team to promote his independent living.
He’d been abandoned by his parents and after refusing a voluntary foster placement or B & B offered by the Council he “sofa-surfed” with friends. The LGO’s criticism was that there was no evidence he had been “counselled” or given appropriate reading material as to the benefits of becoming a looked after child at his age. He would have benefited at the time from the support of a social worker and the associated resources that would bring.
An informal non-permanent arrangement with a friend’s family, subsidised by the Council, was regarded as insufficient.
If this means social workers now have to try to persuade sofa-surfers to become looked after, that’s going to have a heck of an impact on stretched leaving care services.
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