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A new online tool has been launched to help social workers and other practitioners work out what support options are available for destitute families with no recourse to public funds. 

The new web tool developed by several organisations, including the No Recourse to Public Funds Network, aims to help local authorities make the best use of scarce resources to meet their statutory child safeguarding duties. 

The tool was designed following a study by the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, which found that assessing eligibility under section 17 is a complicated and challenging experience. 

The report noted that social workers are concerned about a lack of guidance in being able to navigate the law to safeguard those with no recourse to public funds. 

The tool goes some way to help address this by clearly explaining key elements of the law to help staff conduct their assessments more efficiently. 

Voluntary sector advisers and families can also use the tool to find out:

- If a family is eligible to receive help from social services
- What any exclusions might mean 
- What information may be required by social services
- Further information to help families with housing and financial difficulties 

Speaking in support of the tool’s introduction, Rose Haines from the British Red Cross (South East England) said:

“The tool is going to be incredibly useful for our casework and I think it will really help clients to understand their options and entitlements better and increase their confidence to seek help; whether from statutory, legal or voluntary services.”

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