4.5 Temporary Accommodation and Transient Lifestyles (Falling through the Net)
A parent's homelessness or placement in temporary accommodation, often at a distance from previous support networks, can result in, or be associated with transient lifestyles.
In these circumstances there is a risk that the family may fall through the net and become disengaged from health, education, social and welfare support systems. There may also be a reduction in previously available family / community support.
Some families in which children are harmed move home frequently and there is a danger that they avoid monitoring or contact with caring agencies through this process. As a result no single agency has a complete picture of the family.
Along with indicators of risk in Recognising Abuse and Neglect Procedure the following circumstances associated with some mobile families are a cause for concern and require consideration of a referral to Children's Social Care:
- Child/ren not registered with a GP for periods of time;
- Child/ren frequently attending A & E rather than engaging with primary health services;
- Child/ren not enrolled at a school (this requires immediate referral to Children Services (Education);
- Persistent non school attendance;
- Information patch worked across a network of agencies with no single agency holding the whole picture of a family history.
Local agencies and professionals, working with children and families where there are outstanding child welfare concerns, must bear in mind that extended non-school attendance, missed appointments, or abortive home visits, may indicate that the family has moved out of the area.
This possibility must also be borne in mind when there are concerns about an unborn child who may suffer future Significant Harm.
Additional procedures about children and families moving across Boundaries are provided in the Children and Families Moving Across Boundaries Procedure and Missing Children Protocol.