Mark Whitehead 14 February 2019

Pilot project helps a third of youths quit ‘county lines’

Specialist support helped nearly a third of young people in a pilot project to quit 'county lines' involvement with drugs, according to a review.

An evaluation of work by the St Giles Trust charity in Kent found 31% of children and young people stopped the activity, which involves young people being groomed by gangs to transport drugs across different counties, within a year.

A further 54% were in the process of ending their involvement with the gangs.

Other positive outcomes included the young people entering employment, re-engaging with education, improved family relationships, reductions in episodes of children going missing and better physical and emotional health.

But it noted that all the children being supported were excluded from mainstream education and recommends a review of how education providers work with children with challenging behaviour.

St Giles Trust chief executive Rob Owen said he was grateful to Kent police and crime commissioner Matthew Scott for continued funding of this work.

'It can be extremely challenging to leave a county line so the fact we were able to help 31% of the young people referred to us make a sustained exit within a year is a testament to the project’s impact and its further potential.’

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