Research by The Children’s Society suggests that only 80% of children are offered a Return Home Interview (RHI) despite it being a statutory requirement with 30% choosing to decline the offer.
The Society’s First Steps report also highlights the mixed picture across the country with some areas offering RHI’s to 100% of returning children whilst others only managing figures as low as 20%.
Furthermore, the survey highlights the variance in information recorded with 20% of local authorities failing to record information from interviews in any consistent way. Only 69 of the 87 local authorities responding reported that full notes (including on a young person’s experiences while missing, reasons for going missing, who they spent time with and places/addresses visited) were recorded.
The report outlines a number of key recommendations including the need for local authorities to:
• Use dedicated teams to provide RHIs (if this approach has not already been adopted).
• Facilitate training for staff conducting RHIs.
• Create clear pathways for different follow up support after RHIs for all children (not just those identified to be at high risk).
• Develop structures and groups for oversight and information sharing from RHIs
The full report can be found here