Child in care reported missing every two days in Wakefield, council report reveals

A child in care goes missing every two days in the Wakefield district, figures from the last year have revealed.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:08 am

A total of 180 cases involving a youngster in the care system were reported between April 2020 and March 2021.

The cases involved 42 different children, many of whom went missing on multiple occasions.

A report detailing the issue said that Covid lockdowns had had an impact on the number of missing episodes.

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The number of overall cases has halved since 2017/18.

The numbers have more than halved since 2017/18, when there were 380 cases of a child in care going missing.

However, the report said that while there had been a reduction, a comparison with last year's figures was impossible because of a change in how the data is collated.

The report, which will go before Wakefield Council's corporate parenting committee next week, said: "Whilst some young people were reported missing overnight or for several hours, very few of the young people went missing for prolonged periods of time.

It added: "Each young person will be visited in person at their place of residence by the return home worker and are offered a face to face return home interview.

"This approach has seen a significant increase in the young people engaging in discussion about why they were missing.

"Many young people often report that they do not believe that they were missing even though they were reported missing by their carers - they will often say that they wanted to spend time with their friends."

Of the 42 children in care who have gone missing over the last year, half live outside the Wakefield district, though their wellbeing is still the responsibility of Wakefield Council.

Twenty-five of the young people concerned were boys, while 17 were girls.

Local Democracy Reporting Service