Return Interview Service

Statutory guidance on children who run away or who are reported missing states, that when a child is found or returns home or to care, they should be offered an independent return interview.  (DfE, 2014:14)

The key advantage of return interviews are to identify people at risk; understand the risks and issues faced whilst missing, aim to reduce those risks and equip children and young people with the resources and knowledge of how to stay safe if they do choose to run away again. (DfE, 2014:15-16)

A return interview is an in depth discussion with the young person to help dentify any harm they may have experienced and to understand and address the reasons why a young person was reported missing.

The purpose of the interview is to help the young person feel safe. This includes providing information and helping the young person to develop a plan to encourage them to seek support and advice, and also to equip them with information and skills to keep them safe if they continue to be reported missing.

All return interviews for Leeds children and young people living in the West Yorkshire region are carried out by the Youth Service. For further information

For children who are repeatedly being reported missing, the information obtained in the return interview will inform whether any professional intervention is to be considered, and whether they wish to access this support.

If a child has a social worker it may be more appropriate for them to offer the child a return interview. This should be offered within 72 hours. The social worker should analyse the current needs of the child, what has happened regarding them being missing identifying any patterns, and consider what additional support is, or may be required to prevent future missing episodes.

Return Interview Service leaflet for young people

Return Interview Service leaflet