Yesterday, BBC Newsnight aired a segment featuring the family of Ben Nelson-Roux, a 16-year-old who passed away in unregulated adult homeless accommodation.

The programme touched on Ben’s death and the wider issues faced by 16/17 year olds. The episode is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer from approximately 14:40 onwards:

In response to this issue, the UK government announced new regulations that will be introduced to Parliament on April 6th, 2023. These regulations will ban the use of unregulated accommodation for 16 and 17-year-old children in care and set minimum standards for housing. This means that accommodation used for teenagers in care must be regulated by Ofsted. However, it remains unclear whether these regulations will ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds receive the same level of care and support as younger children in these settings. Furthermore, there are concerns that the funding allocated to local authorities is insufficient.

It’s important to note that the new regulations will not apply to children like Ben, who are not in the care of Children’s Social Care but are still vulnerable to exploitation and abuse and require mental health support. Children like Ben may still be housed in adult hostel accommodation without regulation or legislative change. To address this issue, guidance on the provision of accommodation for homeless 16 and 17-year-olds should be updated to prevent any such individuals from being housed in settings primarily designed for homeless adults. Additionally, effective systems should be established to ensure that vulnerable children like Ben receive adequate care and support beyond just accommodation, including from mental health services.

You can read the full inquest conclusion for Ben Nelson-Roux here:

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