Missing from home or care
Missing Children & Covid-19 Restrictions
The COVID-19 Pandemic has significantly disrupted the lives of young people. The routines and boundaries for many young people will have been significantly altered due to the lockdown measures that have been in place.
As we move in to a further national lockdown it is vital that parents and carers continue to report their child as missing if their whereabouts are unknown. It is appropriate to take steps to locate a missing child despite the current restrictions.
Reporting a Child as Missing – A Message from Cheshire Police
Reporting a child as missing is a necessary step to take to ensure that a child can be effectively safeguarded.
The police are entitled to expect parents and carers to accept normal parenting responsibilities and undertake reasonable actions to try and establish the whereabouts of the individual. This includes:
- Make attempts to contact them
- Call friends or family
- Visiting areas they frequent
- Visit place known to be attending (for example friend’s house or party)
- Checking to see if any items are missing from the home.
Once those enquiries have been completed, it may be appropriate to record the child as missing and take actions set out in national police guidance.
Children who are breaching parental discipline should not be dealt with by
police unless there are other risks.
Children who are missing from home are unhappy, vulnerable and may be at risk of harm as a consequence of their need for food and shelter or from the people with whom they come into contact. Risks can include physical harm, sexual exploitation, drug abuse, and involvement in a range of other criminal activities. These risks apply whether the child is missing from their own family home or where children become missing while they are looked after by the local authority. The primary consideration is the welfare of the child and their safe recovery.
If a child goes missing the Pan Cheshire Missing From Home Protocol 2020-2022 (PDF, 1.41MB) must be followed.
For more information and access to the necessary forms please refer to the Pan-Cheshire Procedures which can be accessed via the following links:
- Pan Cheshire MFH Joint Protocol risk assessment 2016 (Word, 98kB)
- Pan Cheshire Return Interview Professional Guidance 2020 (PDF, 337kB)
- Pan Cheshire Return Home Interview template for Children or Young People Missing From Home or Care 2020 (PDF, 400kB)
Railway Children Charity have created a downloadable education pack aimed at teachers and youth professionals. The resources have been developed in partnership with senior teacher with extensive experience of working with young people with social, emotional, behavioural and mental health issues. All of the resources have been developed in line with PSHE Association guidance and have been assessed and awarded the PSHE Quality Mark. Each corresponds to a Key Stage 2, 3 or 4 lesson.
The resources are designed to help young people understand the risks of running away, and identify safer alternatives and people who may be able to help them. The pack can be downloaded here www.railwaychildren.org.uk/education
Children Missing Education
Information and procedures to follow in respect of Children Missing Education