One in 10 children in care go missing
● 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