Every year, around 10,000 young people spend time on the rail network.
Many are trying to escape abuse, neglect, poverty and family conflict. Some are struggling with their mental health and are feeling isolated. Others are victims of criminal exploitation and are being coerced into transporting drugs for County Lines gangs.
With the cost of living putting pressure on families, mental health referrals reaching record levels and the lingering effects of the pandemic on education, the number of children in crisis is growing.
Social, care, education, police and other civil and statutory services are so stretched that many of the systems set up to help vulnerable young people are failing them. They’re left desperate and without support.