Ask Sam letter


To Sam

dear shelter

dear shelter,
me and my friend have run away from home and we dont know where to go next
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for writing in to let us know that you’ve run away from home. You don’t say what caused you to leave, but I image things at home have been feeling pretty bad. It sounds as though you and your friend are in need of urgent help. Running away and/or living on the streets is extremely dangerous. You need to get advice as soon as possible and you need to be able to talk through your options about where you will live. You could call the Shelter helpline for free on 0808 800 4444, or look at our advice pages about running away.

The quickest way to get help is to go to your local police station. They can refer you to social services for advice about where you will live. They would also be able to contact your families for you. You haven’t told me anything about your families, but they may well be worried about you. The police can at least let them know that you are both safe and well.

If it’s not safe for you to stay at home, then your local council (children’s services) may find you somewhere to live. The law says that the the local council has a duty to accommodate (e.g. find a place to stay) for any child in need who needs accommodation because: -

• there is no one who has parental responsibility for the child
• the child is lost or has been abandoned, or
• the person who has been caring for the child is prevented, whether or not permanently and for whatever reason, from providing him with suitable accommodation or care.

If you are “accommodated” by social services this does not mean that the council will become responsible for you like a parent. It could only do that if it got a ‘care order’ for you. If there is any possibility that it would be safe for you to live at home with your family, social services can offer mediation and talk to you and your family to see if the problems can be resolved. 

You can get an advocate to speak along side you and go with you to social services. The National Youth Advocacy Service might be able to help, or you could also ask the council if they have an advocacy service you can access. You also might want to contact Shelter for advice.

I hope this helps.

Take care


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