There are a lot of reasons why young people want to run away from home or care. Some young people runaway because they are drawn towards situations that might seem fun or exciting. For other young people, they might run away because they are unhappy at home or in care. This could be because they are not getting on with their parents or carers, there might be difficulties in the family such as drug use or domestic abuse, or they might be being harmed in some way.
Running away is not your only option, even though sometimes it might feel like it is. Its always worth trying to talk to somebody if you can about how you feel or what is upsetting you.
Who can help?
- Family – it is important that you try and talk to your family as they may be able to support you, or make changes with you, that mean you feel less like running away.
- Friends – Friends can often be a good source of advice and support, especially if they are the type of friends that know when it’s time to ask an adult for help.
- Professionals – People you have contact with, such as a social worker, youth worker, teacher, sexual health nurse, Youth Offending Team worker, REACH worker or other type of support worker.
- Missing Kids – They have a dedicated phone number for young people to call for support either before they run away or whilst they are missing.
- Childline – free and confidential over the phone support on 0800 1111.
What happens when you get home?
If you are reported missing to the police, sometimes, they will want to make sure you are safe, so they will come and see you to check you are ok.
You will also be offered the space and time to talk to somebody more independent about the reasons why you ran away and whether you were ok whilst you were missing. This could be with a REACH worker or another professional known to you. This meeting is called a Return Home Interview and where possible, it will take place within 72 hours of you returning home.
It is nothing for you to worry about, you are not in trouble. It is simply an opportunity for you to talk about what’s going on for you and to see if there is any support available that could help you with any problems you might be experiencing.
A time and place to meet will be agreed between you and the worker as it is important that you feel comfortable and safe.
REACH (Reducing Exploitation and Absence from Care or Home)
REACH is a specialist service which supports young people up to the age of 17yrs, who either run away or who may be at risk of, or experiencing child sexual exploitation (CSE).
REACH is a team of specialist youth workers and social workers who work directly with young people to help them recognise risks and keep themselves safer.
REACH understands that running away and CSE are both difficult subjects for young people to speak about, so the workers spend time with young people talking about things that worry them and move at the young person’s pace.