SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
These procedures provide information on how to respond when a child runs away/goes missing from home or care.
RELEVANT SAFEGAURDING CHILDREN PROCEDURES
The following relevant procedures are located in the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures:
LOCAL DOCUMENTSMissing from Care Incident From
When Children's Social Care receives notification that a child is missing, the information should be assessed to determine the level of risk to the child and whether the child is a Child in Need. It must also be borne in mind that information relating to unusual non-school attendance, missed appointments, cancelled or abortive visits may indicate that a child is missing and may have moved with their family or carer out of the area.
In the first instance, it must be determined if the missing child is:
Where initial enquiries do not identify that the threshold for Children's Social Care involvement has been met, details of the missing child will be referred to early intervention services. When the child is found / returns home, the early intervention worker will undertake a return interview and assess any further needs. If this assessment identifies further needs, consideration will be given to a referral for appropriate services.
Notifications in relation to missing children are processed by the Missing Person Service. Where it is established that a child falls into one of the above categories (see paragraph 1.1) and/or where professionals agree that the child is a Child in Need based on available information, and there are concerns for a child's welfare or safety if they are not located, the following persons/agencies must be notified:
Procedure for recording missing episodes for children who are looked after and placed out of area:
See also: Guidance for Strategy Discussion / Meeting.
If the child is missing for:
A Strategy Meeting, chaired by the Service Manager for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance or a Children's Social Care Service Manager, should be held after 72 hours, or by a Team Manager in a planned way for intermittent missing episodes within 5 days of the last missing episode. The Strategy Meeting should consider:
Where the Strategy Meeting agrees that notifications to other local authorities should be undertaken the social worker should draft a brief letter giving details of:
The letter should be sent to the Service Manager Safeguarding and Quality Assurance to be circulated to other Local Authority Safeguarding Units nationally, with an expectation that the letter will then be shared within their local authority and among partner agencies. This action should be completed within 48 hours of the Strategy Meeting.The Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Service Manager should inform the Director of Children's Services and the Council's Press office.
If the child is subject to a Child Protection Plan the Lead Social Worker should regularly consult the Conference Chair and if the child is still missing after 20 working days, a Child Protection Review Conference must be convened to consider any additional action.
When a child, who has been the subject of a Strategy Meeting as a result of being missing for a period of 72 hours or more, is located, a further Strategy Meeting between the agencies involved should be convened within one working day to consider:
Where a child known to Children' Social Care returns, he or she will be offered an Independent Return Interview with a member of the Missing Person Team. The interview offers the child an opportunity to discuss any concerns away from the parents or carers.
If the child is in foster care, the carer must work with the placing authority (i.e. the child's social worker) to create a strategy to keep the child safe in future.
Parents will need to be informed, and involved if this is appropriate.
The purpose of the return interview is to:
Where a child is located in the area of another local authority and is unlikely to return to the authority, a representative of the local authority where the child now lives should be invited to the Strategy Meeting to consider a transfer of the case. The case should not be closed until a transfer meeting has taken place.
If the child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan, the child's social worker in consultation with the Safeguarding Manager, must consider the need to convene a Child Protection Review Conference.
When a child in foster care goes missing, the fostering service must follow the local protocol for where the child is placed. A preventative, educative approach is expected from foster carers to encourage them to deal with situations where the missing child's whereabouts are known and to work alongside the Police.
Where a child who has been placed in Calderdale by another authority is located the Missing Person Service will offer an Independent Return Interview. Any concerns arising about the placement should be addressed, as far as possible, in conjunction with the Placing Authority.Where a child placed by Calderdale in another authority is located the Police will notify the Missing Person Co-ordinator. The Co-ordinator will arrange an Independent Return Interview and inform the placing Authority.
Only valid for 48hrs