Children's Service publications

Shelter's Children's Service has produced a range of reports, briefings and guidance for professionals working with children and young people. We have also published the findings of an independent evaluation of our services.

Your First Home: Some Stuff You Really Need to Know

This booklet offers advice and tips for young people about to move into their own home for the first time. It looks at a range of topics, from paying the rent to laws and rights, decorating and cooking for yourself.

PDF Icon Download Your First Home: Some Stuff You Really Need to Know (PDF 5.05 mb) published November 2011.

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Know your rights: 16 or 17 and homeless?

This document provides advice for young people aged 16 or 17 who are homeless. It offers tips on what to do next, and details of organisations that can provide support.

PDF Icon Download Download Know your rights: 16 or 17 and homeless? (PDF 88 kb) published May 2010.

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Good practice briefing: The role of Housing Services in safeguarding children

This briefing highlights the important role that Housing Services have in safeguarding children and young people. It outlines the ways that safeguarding can promote health and wellbeing and protect children from abuse and neglect.

PDF Icon Download Good practice briefing: The role of Housing Services in safeguarding children (PDF 334kb) published November 2011.

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Good practice briefing: Working with families with complex needs

This briefing explains why families with complex needs are most at risk of housing problems. It sets out the good practice local authorities and housing providers are recommended to adopt to reduce the risk of homelessness and ensure that children in such families have their needs assessed and met.

PDF Icon Download Good practice briefing: Working with families with complex needs (PDF 200 kb) published September 2011.

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Good practice briefing – eviction: assessing and meeting the needs of children

This briefing explains the impact that bad housing and homelessness has on children and highlights good practice by local authorities and other providers in the social and privately rented sectors.

PDF Icon Download Good practice briefing – Eviction: assessing and meeting the needs of children (PDF 524 kb) published March 2011.

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Good practice briefing – tenancies for minors

Many social landlords refuse to let to 16- and 17-year-olds altogether, either because they are concerned that minors cannot hold a tenancy, or they are concerned that they cannot be held liable for rent. Where landlords do let to 16- and 17-year-olds, they often impose conditions, such as insisting upon a guarantor.

This briefing explains that, although there are some complications, the law allows 16- and 17-year-olds to hold tenancies, and that they can be held liable under contracts for 'necessaries', including rent. It looks at steps landlords can take to ensure that 16- and 17-year-olds' tenancies are successful.

PDF Icon Download Tenancies for minors – a good practice briefing (PDF 102.2 kb) published April 2007.

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Child poverty: improving outcomes for homeless and badly housed children

This short briefing identifies actions local authorities can include in their Child Poverty Strategies to address and mitigate the higher risk of poverty for homeless and poorly housed children.

PDF Icon Download Child poverty: improving outcomes for homeless and badly housed children (PDF 195 kb) published December 2010.

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In their own words - Shelter's peer education services for young people

Shelter currently delivers two innovative Peer Education services, each empowering young people who have firsthand experience of being homeless to both participate in an accredited training programme and raise other young people’s awareness of homelessness issues in local schools, youth centres, colleges and council Youth Services.

PDF Icon Download In their own words - Shelter's peer education services for young people (PDF 1mb) published November 2010.

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Supporting homeless children – guidance for children and family services

Although many children’s services work effectively with other agencies and specialists such as health and education practitioners, it appears that links with housing providers and the homeless sector are not so well developed. This good practice briefing identifies how bad housing and homelessness affect children and outlines the ways in which children’s sector professionals can engage more effectively with children and young people who are experiencing homelessness or bad housing.

PDF Icon Download Supporting homeless children – guidance for children and family services (PDF 165.4 kb) published March 2010.

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Engaging with homeless children – guidance for children's centres

This Shelter briefing looks at issues faced by homeless children, and the actions that children's centres can take to engage with them. It examines how children's centres can help families at risk to avoid homelessness; the benefits of dedicated outreach services; engaging in multi-agency working; and information as to how children's centre workers can engage more effectively with children experiencing homelessness. Good practice examples are included, to illustrate how other children's centres work together to provide a complete service to homeless children and families.

PDF Icon Download Engaging with homeless children – Guidance for children's centres (PDF 220.6 kb) updated March 2009.

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Engaging with homeless children – guidance for education professionals

This Shelter briefing identifies the issues faced by homeless children and children living in temporary accommodation. It looks at the actions and initiatives that some education professionals currently use to ensure that children experiencing housing issues remain in school and learning, such as volunteering, basic skills tutoring support and local transport schemes. The briefing also looks at ways in which schools can ensure that children experiencing homelessness are treated fairly at school, and not unduly punished for behaviour which is attributable to their housing situations.

PDF Icon Download Engaging with homeless children – Guidance for education professionals (PDF 132.2 kb) published May 2008.

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Supporting homeless children – guidance for health visitors

This good practice briefing discusses the ways in which health visitors can engage more effectively with homeless children and their families. It identifies examples of organisations that promote good practice and discusses the services they provide. Although specialist health visitors or health teams for homeless families have been introduced in a number of areas, many more are still without such services, and links between housing providers and health services and the homeless sector are not as well developed.

PDF Icon Download Supporting homeless children – guidance for health visitors (PDF 157.4 kb) published March 2010.

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Youth homelessness in Blackpool - prevention and provision

In 2010 Shelter’s Children’s Service worked with Blackpool Council to examine youth homelessness in Blackpool. This outline gives an overview of the work and proposes methods for indentifying young people most at risk, identifies areas of good practice and makes recommendations for improvement. 

PDF Icon Download Youth homelessness in Blackpool – prevention and provision (PDF 1mb) published February 2011.

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Improving outcomes for children and young people – benchmarking guide

Shelter’s model of joint working will support local authorities' efforts to shape and develop first class services for homeless children and young people and their families. This comprehensive resource demonstrates how services can be benchmarked at governance, strategic and frontline delivery level. It is aimed at professionals working in local authority children’s services and housing departments, and is a useful reference for partners including registered social landlords (RSLs) and voluntary sector organisations working within the homelessness field.

PDF Icon Download Improving outcomes for children and young people in housing need (PDF 1.58mb) published September 2011.

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Children's Legal Service briefing – responding to youth homelessness

In May 2009, the House of Lords made a landmark judgment in the case of R (G) v London Borough of Southwark, which will affect how local authorities provide accommodation and support for homeless 16- and 17-year-olds.

PDF Icon Download Children's Legal Service briefing: Responding to youth homelessness (PDF 297.2 kb) published November 2009.

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Keys to the Future – evaluation of Shelter’s Children’s Services

Shelter commissioned an independent evaluation of our Keys to the Future services by the University of Birmingham.

These reports evaluate the achievements of the programme and how they delivered against their overall objectives. They present the findings of qualitative research conducted with staff, service users and stakeholders. 

Final report (published Jan 2012):

PDF Icon Evaluation: Shelter Keys to the Future (PDF 1937 kb)

PDF Icon Executive Summary: Shelter Keys to the Future evaluation (PDF 416KB)

Interim reports (all published March 2010:

PDF Icon Interim summary report of the programme (PDF 612 kb)

PDF Icon Interim report on policy, legal and advice work (England) (PDF 613 kb)

PDF Icon Scotland service interim report (PDF 789 kb)

PDF Icon Bristol service interim report (PDF 667 kb)

PDF Icon Gloucestershire service interim report (PDF 957 kb)

PDF Icon Knowsley service interim report  (PDF 711 kb)

PDF Icon Newham service interim report (PDF 696 kb)

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Against the Odds

This report presents the findings of a major investigation into what it means to be a child living in bad housing. Carried out between April and August 2006, the investigation looked at the impact of homelessness, overcrowding, insecurity, poor physical conditions, and deprived neighbourhoods

How do the lives of children living in bad housing compare with those of children with decent homes? What is the impact of their living conditions on their life chances and future prospects? Are the odds stacked against them because of their housing situation?

PDF Icon Download Against the Odds report (PDF 3.6 mb) published November 2006.

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Chance of a lifetime – the impact of bad housing on children's lives

This research pulls together a wide range of existing studies to provide a compelling and robust account of the impact that poor housing and homelessness in childhood have on later life chances. The effects of bad housing and homelessness can stay with a child for a lifetime, revealing that the 'housing effect' means:

  • children growing up in bad housing have up to 25 per cent higher risk of severe ill-health and disability during childhood and early adulthood
  • homeless children are up to four times more likely to suffer mental health problems than other children
  • offending behaviour may be linked to behavioural problems that emerge among children living in poor housing conditions, highlighting evidence that almost half of young offenders have experienced homelessness.

PDF Icon Download Chance of a Lifetime – The Impact of Bad Housing on Children's Lives (PDF 1.6 mb) published September 2006.

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Lessons from Shelter's Children's Service Advice Line and teenage parent child poverty pilots

In 2011 Shelter’s Children’s Service ran a series of nine events across the country in partnership with the Department of Education, exploring the learnings from teenage parent child poverty pilots (TPPs) and Shelter’s experience and evaluation of delivering the Children’s Service Advice Line. Here are the seminar presentations.

PDF Icon Download Working with homeless children and families (PDF 496 kb) Shelter presentation, 2011.

PDF Icon Download Teenage Parents Supported Housing Pilot: Working with Children's Centres  (PDF 255kb) Department for Education presentation, 2011.

PDF Icon Download Shelter Children’s Service Advice Line leaflet (PDF 119 kb) Shelter leaflet, 2011.

PDF Icon Download Children’s Centre Events Quiz  (PDF 241kb) Shelter, 2011.

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