One in 10 chil­dren in care go miss­ing

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page -

● MORE than one in ev­ery ten chil­dren in care in Hal­ton went miss­ing at some point last year.

New fig­ures from the De­part­ment For Ed­u­ca­tion (DFE) have re­vealed that out of the 265 chil­dren looked after by the coun­cil dur­ing 2016-17, 45 went miss­ing at least once.

The av­er­age num­ber of in­ci­dents per child who went miss­ing was seven, with a rate of 94 looked after chil­dren in Run­corn and Widnes for ev­ery 100,000.

Across the rest of the Liver­pool City Re­gion, the DFE fig­ures show of the 4,020 chil­dren who were looked after by the five other lo­cal author­i­ties, 425 went miss­ing at least once.

In fact, more than half of those chil­dren went miss­ing sev­eral times through­out the year, typ­i­cally go­ing miss­ing on seven sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions on av­er­age.

That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean they ran away, how­ever – a child is recorded as miss­ing if they are not where they are ex­pected to be, ie school, and their where­abouts is not known.

The rate of chil­dren in care go­ing miss­ing is slightly higher in Mersey­side than it is across the coun­try as a whole.

Na­tion­ally, 10,700 chil- dren looked after by a lo­cal au­thor­ity in Eng­land went miss­ing at least once in 2016-17 – one in ev­ery 10 chil­dren in care.

Two thirds of those went miss­ing more than once, and on av­er­age they went miss­ing on six sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions.

Across the coun­try, the num­ber of chil­dren in care has been ris­ing year on year.

As of the end of March this year, there were a to­tal of 72,670 looked after chil­dren in the coun­try – 62 for ev­ery 100,000 chil­dren.

Sim­i­larly, the num­ber of chil­dren in care in Mersey­side is the high­est on record, with 3,055 be­ing looked after as of March this year – 113 for ev­ery 100,000 chil­dren in the re­gion.

A child be­ing looked after by their lo­cal au­thor­ity might have been placed in care vol­un­tar­ily by par­ents strug­gling to cope, or chil­dren’s ser­vices may have in­ter­vened be­cause a child was at sig­nif­i­cant risk of harm.

They might be liv­ing with fos­ter par­ents, at home with their par­ents un­der the su­per­vi­sion of so­cial ser­vices, in res­i­den­tial chil­dren’s homes, or other res­i­den­tial set­tings like schools or se­cure units.

Fig­ures re­vealed that 45 of the 265 chil­dren in care in Hal­ton went miss­ing dur­ing 2016-17

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