Children in Care: Missing Persons

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th October 2017.

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Photo of Ann Coffey Ann Coffey Labour, Stockport

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2017 to Question 6504, what assessment she has made of the reasons why 50 per cent of looked after children who are reported missing are children placed in residential accommodation.

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

Annual data recorded to 31 March 2017 showed that 50% of missing incidents were by children placed across a range of residential accommodation, including secure units, children’s homes or semi-independent living accommodation.

Local authorities are improving data collections to include all incidents of missing and so the numbers recorded are increasing (although the data is still categorised as experimental). We will continue to assess data quality.

Many residential settings do important work to provide placements and support for children with complex histories of going missing. In 2015, the government introduced Quality Standards to improve the care in homes and strengthened regulations. We have also placed a duty on local authorities to report all incidences of children going missing from care. Children’s homes must have policies to stop children going missing; and when children do go missing, they must respond in line with local police protocols.

The government considers this an important issue. The Missing Children and Adults strategy, which focuses primarily on vulnerable people who go missing within England and Wales, provides a core framework in which we can all work to deliver collectively the best protection possible for missing children, adults and their families.

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