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Where have all the care children gone? Rise on the numbers of missing children from the care system

6th Nov 2008 | in Child Protection

The ever critisised care system for looked after children is again under scrutiny after government figures show in the year ending March 31 2007 950 young people under eighteen went missing from the care system.

Trafficking of vunerable children is possible giving cause for concern on how children in care are monitored and how the police deal with a missing child report.

A documentry aired in 2007 About Becky showed the shocking attitudes of police forces who put burgularies as a higher priority than a reported missing child from the care system.
The police forces unrepenting views of the looked after child see them as problematic and a drain on resources especially if the child is a known regular run away.

Children are often lured from children’s homes by child abusers looking for vunerable children. They have been known to threaten the child, entice them onto drugs and prostitution and very little is done to find and prosecute the abusers. Many young children who social services can’t cope with are allowed to walk out, not to return and no further action is taken in checking on the whereabouts or safety of that child and the missing child is not reported. Many end up in the adult industry after falling prey to pimps and drug dealers or just disapear and unheard of again.

You will hear many careleavers often talk about the children they were in care with who simply weren’t there when they woke up never to be seen again. Despite trying to trace them it has produces fruitless results.

When about Becky was aired the documentry highlighted the destruction of a young girls life after social services failed to protect her and sent her back to live with her abuser, allowed a child abuser to pick her up from the children’s home door and the carers helpless as they were unable to prevent her from leaving.

How many of those missing children end up in adult mental institutions where there is no form of outside contact for them as they are often locked in secure placements and left for years as if they do not exist?

Author and active looked after child campaigner Teresa Cooper said “I have tried to trace many of the Kendall House girls and there are no records of their birth or possible death certificates and it’s as if they didn’t exist. They have disapeared off the face of the earth and this report is highly condemning on the way children in care are treated and seen. There must be a call for better monitoring, better training and a plan of action not only to find the missing children but to also ensure that other looked after children are better cared for. A full programme and report should be integrated so that every child placed in care for their own protection and safety are accounted for.”

If you know the whereabouts of a missing child from the care system, are the family or the missing child please contact no2abuse and we will do all we can to help

By Teresa Cooper

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