Young people who run away from home or care are the focus of a new resource for church groups.
Almost 4,500 children went missing in Wales during 2015/16. Some will have gone missing only once while others will have gone several times.
The Knowledge Gap – God’s Concern for Young Runaways explores why we might be concerned about young people who are at risk of going missing and how we can support them. It is a joint publication between the Church in Wales and the Children’s Society and accompanies the charities’ report called The Knowledge Gap published in July.
The resource features commentary on the theological case for helping children who go missing, as well as prayers, and suggestions for actions to improve the support offered to children in Wales who go missing or are at risk of going missing.
It focuses on the biblical stories of two young teenagers, Mary and Hagar who ran away. “Looking to these examples, and understanding how these stories might be relevant today, highlights that vulnerable young people require support and safeguarding in order that they might flourish,” says Canon Carol Wardman, Bishops’ Advisor for Church and Society, who co-wrote the resource.
The material could be used as the basis for a sermon, or as a reflection for small groups.
Tom Davies, policy adviser for the Children’s Society in Wales, says, “Archbishop John Davies is helping us as we discuss the findings of The Knowledge Gap report with stakeholders and try to influence for changes which will improve safeguarding procedures for these children and young people. We hope readers will help us disseminate the report’s findings and make the report’s recommendations a reality.”
The bilingual resource can be downloaded here