This guidance document produced by LACSIG outlines the principles and provides suggestions of how corporate parents (CPs) and Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) should develop and implement housing protocols for care leavers.

Staf has been directly involved in the development of this guidance and this 'at-a-glance' guide summarieses the document. The full Housing Options Protocols for Care Leavers is available to download from our website here (PDF).

The relevant organisations involved in planning and implementing a Housing Protocol are: Local Authority departments, health services, educational establishments, criminal justice services (including the Scottish Prison Service), third sector and voluntary organisations and registered social landlords.

More Than Just A House

Securing suitable accommodation for care leavers is about much more than finding them a place to stay. Care leavers should be made aware of the full range of options available to them, including having the option to remain in their care setting until they are ready to move on (see separate Staying Put Scotland summary and guidance). As responsible corporate parents, Local Authorities (LAs), CPs and CPPs should ensure that the individual has noth the skills and the support needed to make the transition out of care.

The guidance is underpinned by the principles of culture change and the need to provide young people with lasting and quality relationships into adulthood. Everyone who is involved in the life of a young person should understand there is no age threshold that determines when they should leave care.

Principles of Good Practice

The guidance illustrates six principles of good practice when developing a protocol. These are:

1. Connection and belonging

In transition planning, CPs will ensure that the provision of appropriate, person-centred and sustained support is provided, emphasising the development of personal and professional social networks.

2. Readiness of care leavers

Readiness is the ability of a care leaver to effectively care for themselves. CPPs will ensure that the young person is properly assessed, their needs identified and support in place before they move on.

3. Corporate Parenting

This relates to the partnerships forged between relevant agencies in the interests of care leavers. Corporate Parents have a moral obligation to provide the opportunities and supports that any good family would provide.

Importantly, CPPs & LAs will want to ensure that no care leaver presents as homeless to access accommodation or housing. This commitment should apply to all current and previous care leavers.

4. Care leavers' views

Care leavers must be actively involved in all decision making processes that affect them. Done correctly this will have far reaching effects, enabling young people to take more responsibility, build self confidence and encourage engagement with services.

5. Information Sharing

CPPs should have in place procedures for ensuring information is shared in a timely and correct proportion.

6. Equality and Diversity

Support for care leavers should aim to address the inequalities associated with socio-economic disadvantage.

Leaving Care is a Process Not an Event

Although this document does not provide practitioners with a template for developing a housing protocol (recognising that a one size fits all approach is often not helpful) it provides LA’s & CPPs with 5 subject areas which should inform the development of a protocol.

1. Housing allocations - care leavers as a priority group

Care leavers should be prioritised within a LA housing allocations policy. This is in line with Corporate Parenting duties. This will help ensure the risk of homelessness is reduced or avoided. It is recommended that such an aim is made explicit in all housing protocols.

2. Identifying accommodation options

CPPs will ensure that they have a range of high quality, well-supported housing options available to care leavers, from supported lodgings through to independent tenancies. CPPs should also encourage and support young people to remain in their current placement until they are ready to move on.

Young people should not experience multiple moves from one accommodation to another. CPPs will provide a high level of practical and emotional support at the outset of transition from care.

3. Supporting care leavers into sustainable accommodation

Moving is stressful. CPPs will make sure that the levels of support they provide meet the health, employability and social network needs of the individual. Support offered to young people should cover the following issues:

  • Emotional support
  • Developing skills
  • Financial support
  • Opportunities to return and make mistakes

CPPs will ensure that the relevant staff receive appropriate training around care leavers and associated issues.

4. Partnership working

CPPs will ensure that the roles and responsibilities of each Corporate Parenting partner and the way in which they will work together are available, understood and agreed, and all parties including the young person are clear about this.

Any housing protocol should be explicit about which organisation is financially responsible for providing a service to a care leaver.

5. Monitoring and recording

CPPs will ensure that the guidance is implemented correctly and consistently by establishing appropriate procedures for monitoring and recording progress across a range of relevant outcome indicators. Including these should be, the age at which young people seek to access accommodation and housing and their initial and subsequent housing sustainment outcomes.


Scottish Government: Housing Options Protocol for Care Leavers (external website)

Scottish Government: Housing Options Protocol for Care Leavers (PDF)