Lancashire County Council has been commended by The Children’s Society today in a new report – Making Runaways Safer – for its commitment to improving services for young people who go missing.
The county council's work is highlighted as an example of good practice in the report, launched to coincide with the first anniversary of the children’s charity’s Runaways Charter, alongside a new a tool for local authorities to help them respond better to young people who go missing.
Research from The Children’s Society shows that running away is an indicator something is wrong in a child’s life. While missing many are at serious risk of being sexually exploited or becoming involved in crime or gangs.
County Councillor Chris Henig, lead member for families at Lancashire County Council, said: “Experience shows that young runaways potentially put themselves at high risk of falling into all kinds of trouble. Our work to reduce the number of young people running away from care is aimed at protecting these vulnerable young people.
“This work is based around very strong partnership working focussing on runaways and child sexual exploitation (CSE).
"This has allowed the police, social services and The Children’s Society - which provides frontline CSE and runaways support in the area through its Street Safe project - to develop innovative ways of responding to the different needs of young runaways, including those who aren’t reported as missing.”
Rob Jackson, area director for the Children’s Society in Lancashire, congratulated the authority for its efforts to help improve the outcomes for runaways in their area:
“I’d like to thank Lancashire County Council for its commitment to putting young runaways at the heart of what they do, and taking steps to create a safety net for young people in the area.
“It is still not too late for other local authorities to sign up to the Charter, or for people to champion the needs of young runaways by campaigning with us.”
• Local authorities and members of the public can get involved in making runaways safer at: http://makerunawayssafe.org.uk
• Further information about action in Lancashire at: www.lancashire.gov.uk and search 'children who go missing'.