Regarding the government response to young people who run away from care

03 July 2012

We are pleased to see today that the government has announced urgent action to address the recommendations set out in a parliamentary inquiry report published last month.

The report by two influential All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) calls for an independent investigation into children’s homes in England, asserting that the system of residential care is 'not fit for purpose' for children who go missing.

The Children's Society acts as secretariat for the APPG on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults (one of the two APPGs that produced the report), which works to raise awareness in parliament of issues connected to children and adults who go missing or run away.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society said: 

'It is a scandal that children who go missing from care are being systematically failed and placed in great danger by a system that is allegedly there to protect them. Today’s speedy government response is very encouraging and sets out a comprehensive plan to take forward many of the recommendations of the shocking parliamentary report.

'The recent exposure of horrific cases of sexual exploitation, trafficking and other shocking crimes leave no room for doubt that there are huge gaps in the system that must be closed urgently. Ultimately what will make a major difference going forward is how children are treated by the professionals there to protect them. There must be a dramatic change in attitudes and culture towards these very vulnerable children.

'The report, published last month by the APPG for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults and the APPG for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, revealed that the system of residential care is 'not fit for purpose' for children who go missing. For example, many children living far from home feel completely abandoned by the very local authorities who placed them there.

'We owe it to current and future generations of children up and down this country to have a proper safety net in place to keep them safe from harm. When a child runs or goes missing from care, this must always been seen as an early warning sign that there is something wrong going on in their lives.'

Ends

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For more information, please call Paul Martin in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07810 487 988 or email. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • More than 100,000 children and young people run away each year – that is one every five minutes. A quarter of them, the equivalent of 70 each day, are forced out of their homes by their parents or carers.
  • 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. For more information please visit our Make Runaways Safe website
  • The new report is available to read on our website.