This paper outlines best practice in the commissioning of emergency accommodation for children and young people who run away, identifying: levels of need; models of accommodation provision that have existed in the UK; approaches to funding; costs of emergency accommodation; the commissioning process; and service delivery issues.
This paper is an expert opinion piece drawing upon a project commissioned by The Scottish Government based on extensive research including a review of the pre‐existing evidence base and new data.
Fixed refuge has been the most common form of emergency accommodation for young runaways in the UK and provides positive outcomes for young runaways relating to improved general well‐being, mental health and schooling. The costs of refuge can compare favourably to alternative specialised accommodation and support and prevent other costs relating to future episodes of running away, future offending, substance misuse and youth homelessness.
Evidence‐based learning has identified best practice in the commissioning of emergency accommodation related to a number of issues including: scoping activity; the commissioning process; costs; approaches to funding; effective future commissioning of emergency accommodation; why the third sector is best placed to deliver emergency accommodation; and ensuring key elements of service delivery are included to meet children and young people's need and achieve positive outcomes.
The commissioning of emergency accommodation for young runaways has received little attention in research; this paper goes some way to rectifying this omission alongside providing evidence‐based learning for commissioners and service delivery organisations.
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