Children who go missing from home or care

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is a key duty on local authorities. Children running away and going missing from home, care or view is a safeguarding issue. The DfE published new statutory guidance in January 2014 which primarily addressed the responsibilities on Local Authorities to children who run away or go missing from home care or view. 

Statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care


Definitions of missing

Absent: a child not at a place where they are expected or required to be.

Missing: a child reported as missing to the police by their family or carers.

Missing from care: a looked after child who is not at their placement or the place they are expected to be (e.g. school) and their whereabouts is not known.

Away from placement without authorisation: A looked after child whose whereabouts is known but who is not at their placement or place they are expected to be and the carer has concerns or the incident has been notified to the local authority or the police.

Safe & well check: A return interview can sometimes be confused with a Safe and Well check. Whilst both of these should be conducted when the missing child/young person is found they are not the same. A safe and well check is carried out by the police to establish whether the child has come to any harm whilst missing. This is in line with police duties to ‘protect life and investigate crime’.

Return interview: in depth interview with child (for further information click on the link below)


Return interview service


Local authorities have a statutory duty to offer all children and young people, who run away or who have been reported as missing, a Return Interview. In Leeds, the Youth Offer Improvement Team or the child's Social Worker, are responsible for talking to children and young people who have been reported as missing. 



Child looked after placed in Leeds


Where a Child Looked After is placed in the area of another local authority (regardless of the type of placement), the Arrangements for Placement of Children (General) Regulations 1991 (Regulation 5) requires that notification is made by the placing authority to the local authority's children's social care service where the child is living.


Risk Vulnerability Management Planning


What to include as part of a Missing Vulnerability and Risk Management meeting and plan, where there are concerns with regards to a child repeatedly missing.