Archbishop - National Safety Net Needed To Help Society's 'Forgotten' Young Runaways
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, paid a visit to The Children's Society's Safe in the City project in Birmingham yesterday to support the charity's Make Runaways Safe campaign.
- (1888PressRelease) December 03, 2011 - The Archbishop spent the afternoon talking to young runaways and their families and meeting professionals campaigning for more support for children who run from home or care.
The Archbishop backed the charity's calls for a national safety net for young runaways. He said in a speech: 'It needs backing at the highest level. It needs a bit of money from national government as well as elsewhere - there's no way round that.
'The actual level of knowledge about the scale of the problem is very, very low. The other side of this huge gap, this lack of knowledge, is that young people running away don't know where to go. It is a recipe for forgotten children.
'We live in a society where, quite often, children and young people are expected to be neither seen nor heard. And the vision behind this campaign about caring for the needs of runaways - that's the vision that says "nobody should be forgotten".'
Latest research by The Children's Society reveals that 100,000 children in the UK run from home or care every year. That is one child every five minutes. More than a quarter have been the victim of a harmful or dangerous experience.
The Children's Society argues that teachers, social workers, police and other professionals are not stepping in and supporting the vast majority of young runaways. Around two-thirds of children who run away are not 'visible' to professionals.
Cassandra, 14, a former runaway from Birmingham, who spoke to the Archbishop, said: 'I used to run away all time because at home everyone was arguing and getting on top of each other. I did not care, but now I do. I now see all the risks of running away.
'Meeting the Archbishop was a "wow" moment. I was absolutely speechless. He was really, really nice. He really listened to what I had to say. I will never forget this moment.'
Safe in the City Birmingham runs a number of projects working with children and young people at risk on the streets.
For more information please visit: www.makerunawayssafe.org.uk/
 Rees, G (2011) www.makerunawayssafe.org.uk/campaign-stories/child-runaways-significant-danger-professionals-fail-step