Comment: Safeguarding of children missing from care and out of...

Stuart Gallimore, ADCS President, said:

“Finding the right placement for the children in our care and keeping them safe from harm is a priority for our members, however, it is important to note that the issue of out of area placements is not as straight forward as often suggested. Sir Martin Narey recognises this in his review of residential care. Whilst children remaining close to their communities, friends and wider family is the preferred option, this is not always in their best interest and a child may be placed further afield where, for example, their needs can’t be met locally or for safety reasons. Local authorities consider many factors as part of this process, including the needs of the child, the support they require, their views and preferences as well as availability, geography and cost. The number of children in care has increased by 24% over the past decade yet there is a national shortage of foster carers and a growing disconnect between the location of residential children’s homes and need which continues to be a challenge for us. Homes are increasingly opening in regions where housing is cheaper which is contributing to this complex picture.

“It takes the concerted effort of all safeguarding partners, including local authorities, the police, health services and schools as well as the wider community, to identify children who are at risk of harm and disrupt and prosecute those who seek to exploit them. It is important to recognise that running away is often a symptom of a wider problem, we rely on all agencies and the public to look out for all children and respond to their behaviour appropriately, recognising their vulnerability. Our ultimate goal must be to work together to address the root causes of why children go missing in the first place and to keep them safe from harm.

“ADCS will be responding formally to this call for evidence in due course.”


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