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Guidance and assistance for parents affected by County Lines exploitation

Suspecting or learning that your child has been exploited into County Lines as a drug runner is a shocking and concerning revelation for any parent.

Sadly, many parents are totally unaware of this wide-spread phenomenon entrapping thousands of young children; unsurprising, as it is so far removed from the normal world of families that noting changes in their child's behaviour and movements is as far as many parents tend to register a problem.   

If you think your child is affected, you are not alone.

This is happening to children from all walks of life; all backgrounds and classes.

They can be children:

  • In the care system or living at home;

  • Known to services and have a criminal record or neither ('clean skins');

  • With Special Education Needs and Disabilities: (SEND), on a Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or academically-able, high-achievers with no disabilities;

  • Attending main-stream school, excluded and/or attending a pupil referral unit (PRU);

  • Drug-users or with no history of substance mis-use;

  • Those who have suffered adverse childhood experiences including intra-familial harm and neglect or from protective-factor, happy, comfortable homes. 

Sadly, parents who seek our assistance highlight identical concerns, pitfalls and failures in their experience of statutory services, and echo the need for a better, professional and mult-agency coordinated response. We assist them in navigating complex statutory systems to better protect and minimise life-threatening risks to their exploited child and family from serious criminal, violent and emotional harm.

If your child is or suspected to be exploited into County Lines, please get in touch for free assistance through our SPACE Steps national service which will provide necessary advice and guidance, including what you should be looking for, what to challenge, outcomes to avoid, and what to expect from responders including Child Protection and Modern Slavery statutory duties.

Whilst SPACE Steps receives no funding, every effort is made to respond to parents as soon as possible. The service is carried out entirely in volunteered time, and operates around other demanding functions.  

Please also see NPIES.