Children's Society asks FBI for advice on runaways

Graham Willgoss

The Children's Society has met US government officials and the FBI this week for advice on establishing a national network of shelters for runaway children.

A three-strong delegation from the charity, including former runaway Curtis Porter, flew to the US with the Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow and Sandra Looby, a detective chief inspector with the Metropolitan Police, on 20 March.

Looby spoke with FBI experts on missing people, while Porter met children at a night shelter in Chicago to see how services compared with those in the UK.

The society is calling on the Government to set up a network of refuges as part of its continuing Safe and Sound campaign.

"We need to see how a network of safe emergency accommodation can work in practice," said Tim Linehan, assistant campaigns director at the Children's Society. "Our visit to the US will provide us with a valuable learning experience."

Linehan will report back to MPs in May at a meeting before the second reading of a Ten-Minute Rule Bill on runaways that presses for national co-ordination of responses to children who go missing.

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