Figures recently released indicate that the number of children who have gone missing from out-of-area residential care has more than doubled in the past four years.
The increase has a lead to the launch of a new enquiry by the all-party parliamentary group for runaway and missing children and adults which will focus on how the safety of children who go missing can be assured.
Figures released by Ann Coffey, Chair of the APPG show that 1,990 children went missing from out-of-area placements in 2018, against 990 in 2015. ‘Within area’ placement figures also showed an increase of 31% over the same period.
The APPG is particularly concerned that these children can easily fall into sexual exploitation and gang activity.
Coffey said ‘The children's homes system is broken. It is catastrophically failing children and young people and is instead working in the interest of private providers. Local authorities have their hands tied with little choice about where children should be placed because of the uneven distribution of children's homes. This is a shocking state of affairs."