Poor family relationships are the major cause of young people
running away from home, according to a report published this
The report by the Children’s Society shows that family change,
such as a separation or divorce, can leave young people feeling
vulnerable or competing for attention.
The charity is calling for more family mediation services to
help resolve some tensions between children and parents or carers,
more targeted help for young people at the time of parental
conflict, and more education on parenting skills.
Chief executive Ian Sparks said: “Parental separation or divorce
can be a difficult time for everyone involved and we need to make
sure that children have someone they can talk to before the
situation reaches crisis point.”
A second study by the charity, published just days earlier,
reveals that no single model of practice will effectively meet the
needs of all young people who run away.
Instead, it calls for a comprehensive network of services,
including refuges, street work, missing persons schemes,
centre-based projects and preventive work.
“Many of these children have multiple needs that can’t be met
through quick-fix solutions,” Sparks said. “If we’re going to
engage with young people on the brink of social exclusion then we
must bring together the combined expertise of local authorities,
social services, police and teachers.”
The government is shortly to publish a report about runaways by
its social exclusion unit.
Cabinet office minister Barbara Roche said: “The social
exclusion unit has drawn on the expertise and research of the
Children’s Society and other organisations in looking for ways to
prevent young people from running away in the first place, making
sure they are safe if they do run, and finding long-term solutions
to their need.”
Working with Young Runaways and Home Run: Families and Young
Runaways from 020 7841 4415 or www.the-childrens-society.org.uk