Support needed for young runaways

October 20, 2007 10:00 AM

David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, is calling for more support for runaway young people.

Mr Howarth signed a petition, in the shape of a giant running shoe, in Westminster this week to be presented to Ministers. A panel of MP's will hear evidence from a range of specialists to identify problems and dangers facing children in the UK who run away or go missing. The Panel will consider examples of best practice locally and nationally; identify whether current systems properly protect vulnerable runaway or missing children; and make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

The English Coalition for Runaway Children is proposing a national safety net for runaway children comprising three elements:

- Safe Places: Including immediate access to emergency accommodation

- Safe Procedures: Including guidance for local authorities

- Safe People: Including effective conduct of return interviews for every runaway child with an assessment of need.

Backing the campaign, Mr Howarth said:

"100,000 children run away from home in the UK every year and many find themselves without the support they so desperately need. I hope that the Government puts in place a safety-net for these young people."

David Howarth signing the petition

David signs the petition

Research carried out by The Children's Society**, revealed that most of the 100,000 children who run away from home or care every year, do so because of problems at home, with girls age 14 -15 the group most likely to run. Runaways employ risky strategies to survive with one in six sleeping rough and one in twelve hurt or harmed. Whilst most don't run far from home, many end up sofa surfing or sleeping in stranger's houses.

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