The children and families we work with in the UK are already vulnerable and we know the effect of this outbreak is going to hit them the hardest of all.

For many of them school is a safe place and being forced into social isolation will be particularly damaging.

British Transport Police are still referring children found in danger across the network to our teams as children with nowhere else to go are able to access stations easily as many are now understaffed, with barriers left raised. With less station traffic this number has gone down but the complexity and challenging nature of these cases has gone up.

One of the biggest areas of concern is that several children that we support, who have run away from home many times in the past, are still disappearing.

We have seen an increase in the number of parents and families contacting our services to say they are struggling to enforce the new lockdown restrictions with their children – which is particularly worrying for those with older and vulnerable family members - and we’re doing what we can to advise and help them. We are working closely with other services and organisations who have thanked us for our ongoing support and reached out to our teams for help.

Read about how we helped Jess's family during the coronavirus outbreak here.

New approaches, same commitment

Financial worries and loss of jobs will also be hard for many of the families we work with to bear and the added mental health challenges for those already suffering with anxiety mean the children referred to us need our support more than ever.

The way we reach these children needs to change and we have taken up this challenge by interacting and communicating with them in different ways. As we reduce face to face contact we are adapting creative ways to keep in touch with phone calls, WhatsApp chats, FaceTime meetings etc and we have vast resources of online games, stories, education and advice to share with them and feedback so far is that the young people are responding well and enjoying this new way of meeting with us.

Together we will do whatever it takes to make sure that while we can’t visit we can still ensure those we need to safeguard and support are not left to feel isolated, worried or alone.