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Children in Care: Missing Persons

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children in care were reported missing in each of the last 10 years. (201866)

Information on the number of children looked after by English local authorities who were reported as missing in each of the years ending 31 March 2003 to 2007 is shown in the following table 1. Where a child was reported missing from his or her agreed placement on more than one occasion during the same year, he or she has been counted only once.

Table 1: Children looked after who were reported missing during the years ending 31 March 2003 to 20071, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8—England







Children looked after who were reported as missing from their placement1, 2, 3, 4






1 Source: SSDA903 return on children looked after.

2 Children looked after at any time during the year ending 31 March.

3 Figures exclude children looked after under an agreed series of short term placements.

4 A child is recorded with a missing placement if he/she is absent for more than 24 hours from his/her agreed placement. Children who are missing from care are categorised in three types of missing placements:

(a) In Refuge for children at risk, as defined in Section 51 of Children Act 1989, (b) Whereabouts of young people known to social services (but not in refuge) excluding agreed absences from placement such as holidays or planned breaks, (c) Whereabouts unknown.

5 Figures are taken from the SSDA903 one-third sample survey.

6 Figures are taken from the SSDA903 return which since 2004 covered all looked after children.

7 Historical figures may differ from older publications. This is mainly due to the implementation of amendments and corrections sent by some local authorities after the publication date of previous materials.

8 To maintain the confidentiality of each individual child, data at national level are rounded to the nearest 100 if they exceed 1,000 or to the nearest 10 otherwise.