Help The Children's Society build a safety net for children who run away from home.

Church resources

Why include the issue of runaways in your worship?

Every five minutes in this country a child runs away from home or care. A quarter of these children are forced out of their homes by their parents or carers. That’s 70 children every day who have no choice but to go it alone. Many more flee conflict, neglect or abuse.

Often they will take great risks on the streets. Many have no option but to rob in order to survive. Others will seek solace in drugs or alcohol. Many will be harmed or abused by adults who groom them. This is the reality for many of the 100,000 children who run away each year. Tragically in most cases, children who run away – some as young as 8 – do not get the help and support they so vitally need.

At the same time, many adults see teenagers and young people as resilient and often threatening. This means children and young people who run away often do not receive the services or support they need. We have worked with young people to create a safety net for young runaways. We have created a Runaways Charter, which explains what a reliable safety net should look like.

Highlighting the needs of these children within an act of worship can encourage us to pray with and for them, as well as for our society in which children are not always kept safe. This situation is not a new one. Jesus bids his followers to welcome children, as members of society who were vulnerable and had no rights. 

Which service might these be suitable for?

The resources here are aimed at adults, not at children, so are not suitable for an all-age service. However, if you organise Christingle services on a Sunday afternoon near Christmas, your main service that morning might appropriately use this material. Or you may wish to focus on this theme at another time of year.

Getting further involved

If you church is inspired to respond to the issues, you can encourage people to get involved by visiting our website, where they will be able to see the situation young runaways in their area face, and ask their local council to put measures in place to provide for young people who have run away.

Thank you

These resources were written by Janet Morley.