Policy and Provision
Policy responsibility for homeless young people, insofar as it extends to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, relates only to children under 18 and any child welfare and protection concerns that may arise in the context of the Child Care Act 1991.
Children under 16 who present as being homeless to emergency services are taken into care. Children aged 16 and 17 may be taken into care, or provided a service under Section 5 of the Child Care Act 1991 (accommodation for homeless children). Young people who were formerly in the care of the state and presently in receipt of aftercare services have their accommodation needs identified as part of this support.
The accommodation needs of children who are in the care of their parents where the family is homeless are the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and local authorities.
Youth Homelessness Strategy
The Programme for Government 2011-2016 commits inter-alia to (i) end long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough; and (ii) review and update the existing Homeless Strategy, including a specific focus on youth homelessness.
A national Youth Homelessness Strategy was developed in 2001. A review of progress undertaken in 2008 by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in conjunction with other agencies, found that significant progress had been made, especially in the areas of interagency cooperation, early prevention and an ‘out of hours’ service.
The Department engaged with the Centre for Effective Services (CES) to undertake a review of the implementation of the Youth Homelessness Strategy, 2001, to establish the extent that the strategy has been successful and to identify blockages or challenges to its implementation. CES consulted with the relevant service providers, non-Government organisations (NGOs) and young people as part of this process.
The report, Every Child a Home: A Review of the Implementation of the Youth Homelessness Strategy, was published in July, 2013.
Trinity College, Dublin also carried out research into youth homelessness. Young People’s Homeless and Housing Pathways: Key Findings from a 6-year Qualitative Longitudinal Study was also published in July, 2013.