In partnership with Barnardo’s, this 18-month exploratory research project is aimed at creating a toolkit for an effective service response to improve the outcomes for children at risk or involved in county lines.


Much of what is known about CCE relates to county lines, a model of drug supply that has become widespread across the United Kingdom. County lines operate using a dedicated mobile phone number to sell drugs from larger cities to end users living in coastal, rural and market towns. While not all county lines use children, where children are targeted it can affect all ages and ethnicities. This project will contribute to the knowledge base regarding the nature and scale of the problem, what approaches and interventions are most effective and how contextual safeguarding approaches can be used in practice within the Welsh context

Activities and Methods

The project consists of three phases:

Phase one: Semi-structured interviews with young people, parents and professionals.

Phase two: Design of the toolkit based on phase one finding and in collaboration with the project advisory group which comprises young people, parents and representatives from social care, health, education, police, housing and youth services.

Phase three: Implementation and refinement of the toolkit.


This is an ongoing research project.

Lead Person

Principal InvestigatorNina Maxwell

Academic Staff

Research TeamAlyson Rees
ResearcherCatrin Wallace
Related partnersBarnardo’s Cymru
FundersHealth and Care Research Wales
Related publicationsA systematic map and synthesis review of Child Criminal Exploitation – October 2019
Related links A systematic map and synthesis review of Child Criminal Exploitation