Every year in the UK an estimated 100,000 children and young people run away from home or care, with one in six ending up on the streets. A young person might run away from home or care for various reasons, but when they do so it usually means something in their life isn't going right. Furthermore, these young people face the particular range of risks that come from having to find alternative places to stay and the means to survive.

It is the responsibility of local government and their partners to safeguard the young and vulnerable, including young runaways. This is normally done through the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board.

Local authority guidance

Statutory guidance has been developed to help LAs put better systems in place to support young runaways from both home and care. The guidance, Statutory guidance on children who run away and go missing from home or care, emphasises the importance of young runaways being offered a return interview and stresses the importance of information sharing and using common assessment. It also explains the need for a named person to be responsible at a local level. The guidance, issued in July 2009, is available to download from this page.

Summary versions of guidance

Three summary versions of the statutory guidance have also been developed for lead members of children's services, directors of children's services, and care workers and foster carers – explaining their specific responsibilities to support these vulnerable young people.
For those interested in setting up refuge provision for young people at risk, a guide for applicants has also been developed. This can also be downloaded from this page.