Safe in the city: A Children's Society project

Young girl with adult at a table
22 February 2011

Every day we see children in danger from violence and abuse – either on the streets or at home.

Our first priority is to keep them safe. That often means safe from the adults who want to harm them.

The Children’s Society’s work with runaways offers safety, support and hope to young people on the streets. At Safe in the City, Birmingham, we can receive up to 500 referrals and help 200 children a year.

 ‘The most frustrating part of the job is knowing that there are so many children out on the streets and in danger – yet we can’t get to them all’ says Simon Cottingham, Project Manager at Safe in the City.

Sam: A Good News Story

We first found out about Sam through the police. After running away from home he’d been found by a security guard.  The security guard contacted the police who contacted us for help.

At first, Sam’s Mum was not keen on a home visit by The Children’s Society, and the first meeting was short. But at a second visit, held at Sam’s school, it emerged that he’d run away at least four times before, staying out all night.

No one reported him missing

In fact, he told The Children’s Society project worker he thought his mum was glad to have him out of the way. Over more one-to-one sessions, the true
picture emerged. Sam’s mother was a heavy drinker and substance abuser and was clearly unable to look after him.

With our help, Sam went into a children’s home so that he could be kept safe and benefit from some routines and structure.

Help at hand

We hope he will eventually live with his 22-year-old sister, recently a mother herself. She has a positive influence on him and wants to take care of him.

The new arrangements are working really well – Sam has hopes of a stable family life in the near future and our project worker will help him regain his confidence.