Speaking in response to Ofsted’s report into children who go missing from care, Ellen Broome, Director of Policy at The Children’s Society, said:
'Today's report from Ofsted clearly echoes compelling evidence from far and wide - that there is a strong link between children going missing and children suffering from sexual exploitation. Over the last year alone, this has been also been highlighted in reports from MPs, the government and the Deputy Children’s Commissioner. Cases in Rochdale, Rotherham and many others have shown the shocking reality of this link.
'It is no coincidence that the same issues arise every time. These include local agencies not knowing how many children are going missing, return interviews with runaway children not happening and unstable care placements miles away from home.
Lack of strategic leadership
'Good work is being done to tackle the harm done by grooming and sexual exploitation and government and others are taking some of the steps we’ve recommended. But, as Ofsted has identified, there is still a worrying lack of strategic senior leadership from some local authorities.
'Ofsted has said that local councils need urgently to evaluate their own effectiveness. We have been running the Make Runaways Safe campaign for over a year now, which offers councils the chance to sign-up to our Runaway Charter and do exactly that.
'A number of local authorities have taken that opportunity. We are calling on all the remaining councils to sign-up, so we can improve the protection that we offer to vulnerable young children across the country.'
- The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.
- The Children’s Society is encouraging people to write to their council to encourage them to sign the Runaways Charter, which people can do through the Make Runaways Safe website, where you can also see which councils have signed-up to the Charter.