Missing Persons: Children in Care

Home Office written question – answered on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to prevent unaccompanied and trafficked children going missing from care.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

The Government is committed to protecting all children who go missing and recognises the specific needs of trafficked children, which is why we have announced a range of actions to better protect child victims and keep them safe.

The Government has committed to expanding Independent Child Traf-ficking Advocates to one third of all local authorities by April 2019. The Child Trafficking Protection Fund which, as well as providing victim support and recovery, aims to reduce vulnerability to exploitation by preventing trafficked children from going missing and potentially being re-trafficked. In November 2017, the Department for Education published a Safeguarding Strategy for unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children. The Strategy com-missioned a further 1,000 training places for carers and support workers to equip them with the skills they need to identify when a child is at risk of going missing and of potentially being trafficked onwards. The Refugee Council are delivering this training and will have delivered 1,000 places by the end of March 2019.

The Home Office is also working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) through the Home Office National Law Enforcement Data Pro-gramme (NLEDP) to deliver a National Register of Missing Persons (NRMP). This will enable real time information about police reported missing persons incidents to be accessed by police forces across England and Wales. Over time the NRMP will build a national picture of historic missing persons incidents. This will assist officers when they are looking for, or en-counter a missing person, particularly if that missing person is outside their home force area. We are currently working towards the NRMP to be in use operationally in 2020/2021.

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