As part of International Missing Children’s Day – the Wales Safeguarding Children’s Board are promoting awareness around the importance of following the All Wales Safeguarding children who go missing from home or care practice guidance.
The guidance is primarily for multi-agency practitioners working with children (up to the age of 18).
Key data from Wales, England and Scotland:
Looked-after-children are going missing from care at a very high rate. Significantly, a much higher rate than that of the general population of children:
- 1 in 10 looked-after-children go missing from care, versus the 1 in 200 who are not in care.
The missing rates of 3 specific groups of looked-after-children are particularly alarming:
- 48% of looked-after-children identified as exploited went missing in 2020.
- On average, each of those children went missing 10.6 times per year.
- 31% of looked-after-children identified as victims of trafficking went missing in 2020.
- On average, each of those children went missing 8 times per year.
- 13% of looked-after-children identified as unaccompanied went missing in 2020.
- On average, each of those children went missing 2.5 times per year.
Why are the missing figures for looked-after-children so high?
There are many reasons why children in care go missing, but these children are disproportionately likely to face many of the harms heavily linked to missing episodes. These include:
- Mental health issues.
- Exploitation and Trafficking
This post is also available in: Welsh