15 Jan 2007

Children's Minister Meets Young Runaways To Plan Safe Support

15 January 2007

Beverley Hughes, Children's Minister will meet 12 young runaways from across the UK to discuss the essential ingredients for their safe support.

The Children’s Society is working with the Department for Education and Skills to look at support and safety for young runaways. 100,000 children under 16 runaway overnight each year and according to recent research one in six of those sleep rough.

As part of a national consultation the charity is talking with Police Forces, Local Authorities and Charities who share in the work of providing young runaways with the safe support they need.

Martin Houghton-Brown from The Children’s Society said, “The event on Wednesday gives young people, who have had experiences of running away, a chance to speak directly to the Children’s Minister about what they feel should be done to keep them safe. It is probably the most important event in this landmark national consultation.”

Beverley Hughes, Children’s Minister says, “For the overwhelming majority of children, running away from home is something that would not occur to them. However, for a small but significant number, running away seems the answer to their problems. In addition to the important research The Children’s Society have done into the issues facing young runaways and they are now carrying out this valuable consultation and I’m grateful to them for that.
“I’m really looking forward to having the chance to meet with young people themselves to talk directly about the ways in which they think we can tackle these complex issues – hopefully together we can explore practical, local solutions.”

To lighten the day the Barbican has invited the young people to see the Dick Whittington show and meet cast members. Dick Whittington is the classic runaway story with promises of streets paved with gold and freedom from ills, the reality being somewhat different.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Children’s Society, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2006, is a national children’s charity working with over 50,000 children and teenagers every year, in 90 towns and cities. It works in partnership with communities, schools and families. It helps: children at risk on the streets; children in trouble with the law; young refugees; children with disabilities. 
  • The Children’s Society’s research, Still Running II was published in October 2005 after a survey of 11,210 children across 70 mainstream schools, 11 pupil referral units and 13 schools for children with learning difficulties. 77,000 children runaway for the first time each year and of those 1 in 6 will sleep rough and 1 in 12 will be hurt or harmed.
  • The national figure of 100,000 is arrived at by adding the estimated number of repeat runaways to the number of first time runaways (77,000) taking into account inner city, rural, urban and suburban factors as well as poverty and ethnicity.