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Study suggests only half of children who go missing from care receive statutory interviews when they return.

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