Runaway Children

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th September 2017.

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Photo of Ann Coffey Ann Coffey Labour, Stockport

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of looked-after children went missing from placements in (a) England and (b) the North West for more than 24 hours for each year for which information is available since the publication of the Children's Home Data Pack in 2014.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Minister of State (Education)

The department does not collect hour-specific data on duration of missing episodes. It collects the date a looked-after child went missing, and the date the child returned to their placement so we cannot provide figures for children who were missing over 24 hours. The available information, covering children who went missing one day and returned on or after the next day is provided in the table. Figures are not comparable between 2015 and 2016.

Percentage of all looked after children during the year1 who went missing2 and returned on or after the following day3

Years ending 31 March 2015 and 2016

Coverage: England

Note: These figures are experimental – 2016 figures should not be compared to 2015 (see footnote 4).






North West



Source: SSDA903

1. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Expressed as a percentage of the total number of looked after children during the year.

2. Missing is defined as a looked after child who is not at their placement or a place they are expected to be (e.g. a school) and their whereabouts is not known. This does not include children who were away from their placement without authorisation where the child’s whereabouts was known.

3. Incidents of a child going missing where the end date of the missing period was after its start date. This will include short missing periods where the child went missing late at night but was found in the early hours of the following morning.

4. These figures are experimental statistics. 2016 is the second year the statistics have been collected in this way and local authorities reported some significant improvements in consistency and completeness of the data; figures for 2015 and 2016 are not comparable.

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