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Children in Care: Missing Persons

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance is given to local authorities on looked after children missing from care, specifying in each case the (a) document, (b) paragraph and (c) line references; and whether each has statutory status. (122476)

Details about the regulations and guidance setting out how local authorities and care providers should respond to children missing from their care are given in the table.

Date

Regulation/Guidance

Reference

Status

April 2002

Children's Homes Regulations 2001

Regulation 16(4)(b) The registered provider shall prepare and implement as required—a procedure to be followed when any child accommodated in a children’s home is absent without permission.

Statutory Requirement

April 2002

The Fostering Service Regulations 2002

Regulation 13(3) The fostering service provider shall prepare and implement a written procedure to be followed if a child is absent from a foster parent’s home without permission.

Statutory Requirement

April 2002

Children's Homes National Minimum Standards

Standard 19 sets out the processes that need to covered in each home’s written policy and guidance to prevent children from going missing, to manage missing children from care incidents and to respond appropriately when missing children are returned to their care.

National Minimum Standards are non-statutory—but must be taken into account by the appropriate regulator (currently the Commission for Social Care Inspection) in its assessment as to whether care providers are complying with statutory regulations, listed above.

April 2002

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards

Standard 9.8 specifies that—the fostering service makes sure that the foster care has a clear written procedure for use if the foster child is missing from home.

National Minimum Standards are non-statutory—but must be taken into account by the appropriate regulator (currently the Commission for Social Care Inspection) in its assessment as to whether care providers are complying with statutory regulations, listed above.

November 2002

Children Missing from Care and Home—A Guide to Good Practice

Sections 1 to 7 of this guidance from pages 5 to 19 set out the issues to be considered and the processes to be followed so that local authorities respond effectively to children who go missing from their care placement.

This guidance and its related Circular LAC (2002) 17, were issued under section 7 of the Local Authority Services Act 1970 which means that, except in exceptional circumstances councils must follow its advice.

April 2006

Working Together to Safeguard Children

Paragraph 11.65 on pages 207-08 specifies that—the various agencies are responsible for the care of looked-after children should understand their respective roles (when children go missing from care). These should be set out in standard protocols describing arrangements for managing missing person’s investigations developed by the local police force. Where there is the possibility that this behaviour is a result of child protection concerns, the responsible local authority (or others concerned for the child) must follow its procedures to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the area where the child is living.

This information was issued as non-statutory practice guidance to assist relevant agencies to manage individual cases and safeguard and promote the welfare of children in circumstances where young people may be particularly vulnerable.