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Runaway Children

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to improve the collection of data on child runaways. (200363)

A new indicator on young people who run away from home or care has been included in the National Indicator Set, to be measured from April 2009.

Following The Children’s Society report Stepping Up (August 2007) a cross-Departmental working group on young runaways was established, supported by a consultative group made up of experts from the voluntary sector. Immediate activities for the working group include consideration of data collection mechanisms which will best support the new indicator. I am expecting a progress report from the working group on this in June, and full technical consultation on the indicator will take place in autumn 2008.

In addition to developing the new indicator, the working group are also developing an action plan to be published in June which will set out ongoing actions for improvements to services for young runaways at local, regional and national level; reviewing the Missing from Care and Home guidance (2002) and carrying out a review of emergency accommodation provision for young runaways.