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Children in Care: Runaway Children

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL3386, tabled on 25 October 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to support local authoities to prevent children absconding from care.

Answered on

8 November 2021

The department has issued statutory guidance for local authorities that clarifies steps to prevent children going missing from home or from care. The guidance stipulates to local authorities explicit actions that care settings must take to prevent looked after children going missing. The statutory guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-who-run-away-or-go-missing-from-home-or-care.

The guidance also makes clear that children’s home regulations require providers to have up-to-date procedures in place to prevent children going missing and to take swift, effective action if they do go missing to ensure their safety. We also expect the child’s care plan to include details of arrangements in place to keep the child safe, and to minimise the risk of the child going missing from their placement, whether this be a children’s home or a foster placement.

The Department is working closely with representatives from local authorities, police forces, Ofsted and the children’s voluntary sector, to consider how the current ‘missing’ statutory guidance might be refreshed and further strengthened. This will help to ensure it continues to be fit to support local authorities and their partners to protect vulnerable children. We will issue further updates on this work in due course.