The number of care leavers placed in bed and breakfast accommodation has fallen by more than a third over the past two years, research by Barnardo’s has found.
The placements were used for 525 children in 2016, down from 809 in 2014, figures obtained from all 152 English councils under the Freedom of Information Act show.
Under government guidance issued last year, the placements should only be used in “very exceptional emergency circumstances” and for no more than two days.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan welcomed the reduction, but warned over 500 young people in bed and breakfast accommodation was “still far too many”.
“Vulnerable young people who leave care need a suitable place to live,” he said.
‘Total ban rejected’
Barnardo’s has been campaigning since 2014 to try and tackle the issue, after concerns were raised about the number of councils placing young people in unsuitable accommodation.
The Department for Education has previously rejected calls for a total ban on the use of bed and breakfasts, arguing that it could lead to situations where there is no emergency accommodation available for care leavers.
Khan added that the Children and Social Work Bill currently going through parliament presented “a significant opportunity” to ensure proper accommodation is available for all care leavers.
The bill, if passed, would require local authorities to develop a “local offer” for care leavers, which includes publishing information about the services available to assist young people to live independently after leaving care. This includes services relating to health and wellbeing, education, training and employment, accommodation, and participation in society.