Letter: Only the government has the money to rescue British children from life on the streets

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Your excellent report "Children sleeping rough..." (8 June) illustrates an unacceptable and unpalatable truth about modern Britain; that there are no statutory services for young runaways.

At the Children's Society we have tried to plug this inexcusable gap and now run three of the four refuges in this country.

Young people usually run away to escape traumatic experiences. When they arrive at the refuge they need skilled support which has to be available 24 hours a day. The costs are enormous. We spend around pounds 1m a year, almost all from voluntary donations, and we can afford no more. Statutory services so far have shown no interest, leaving thousands of children at the mercy of predatory adults. It means young runaways are forced on to the streets.

We urgently need a commit-ment from central government to fund a network of refuges to ensure that children most at risk in our society have an escape route from destitution, exploitation and violence.

David Lovell

The Children's Society

London WC1