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Councils made 'inexcusable failures' over homeless teenager

The Ombudsman has criticised Kent and Dover Councils for "inexcusable failures" over a young homeless teenager.

The 16 year old spent nine months living in a tent, suffered physical and mental ill-health, and had to sell or give away his belongings.

Ombudsman Anne Seex found that Kent County Council failed to assess the teenager as a "child in need" and accommodate him, thus denying him his right to advice and assistance.

Dover failed to accept him as homeless and provide suitable temporary accommodation, or contact Kent children's services about him.

The teenager, known as J, was forced to sleep rough to avoid criminals and drug users, the report says.

These failures are inexcusable. They happened after important court rulings had clarified the roles and responsibilities that housing authorities and children's services authorities have to homeless children of 16 and 17."

– Ombudsman Anne Seex

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