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I don't have
to be afraid
anymore
I don't have to be afraid anymore

Children missing from home

Every year 100,000 children and young people go missing or run away from home. They can quickly fall under the radar and find themselves in dangerous situations. Many feel they have no one to turn to.

We work to change this. We help them work through their problems, make safe choices and find positive alternatives to running away. Whatever they're facing, no child should feel like running is the solution.

How many people go missing in the UK each year?

144

children go missing or run away each day in the UK

2 in 3

children who go missing are not reported missing to the police

How we help missing children

We run services across the country that try to understand why children go missing and then give them the support to stop them running. We also work closely with families and the police to make sure children who do go missing are properly supported when they are found.

How we help missing children

Young boy asleep on the bus

Next Generation in Nottingham is for children who have a lot going on in their lives. More than most can handle. We work closely with them for up to two years. Many have experienced trauma and will often go missing to escape conflict at home. 

With time we help them rebuild relationships with family members or professionals, we show them how to manage emotions, and we get them focused on their future. 

The young people we worked with had 56 missing incidents between them at the start. After two years at Next Generation, they had only two. Many said it made them feel safer and improved relationships with their mum and dad.

Next Generation quote

I'm in a better place now with my dad than I've ever been. Now I can actually talk with my dad.

girl smiling in park

I'm in a better place I'm in a better place

There was a time Lauren was top her county's Child Protection Register. She would go missing for days on end, often found far away from her home. But things are looking up. This is her story. 

Improving the response to missing children

For 25 years we've been demanding that children who run away get someone to talk to when they come back. To talk about why they went missing and what would stop them doing it again.

The Government have now introduced Return Home Interviews, offered to every returning child or young person within 72 hours. Now we can understand their reasons for running away and can help to stop it from happening again.

How many people missing children have we helped?

1,807

Return Home Interviews have been completed nationally in the UK since their introduction

2,155

young people have accessed our Missing from Home services since we started providing them

working with the police to help missing children

young woman looking at camera

Working with the police

In Shropshire, we do return home interviews with young people. We ask why they went missing, do they feel safe, what would stop them running away again. We listen and provide mental health support if they need it.

Unlike any other service in the UK, our project workers log their information from return home interviews directly into police systems. It’s accurate. It’s thorough. It frees up time for the police and can help reduce future missing episodes.

shropshire missing stats

57

return home interviews were conducted in seven months in our Shropshire service

68%

of young people said RHIs helped them learn ways to keep themselves safe in the future

quote from our shropshire service

The first time they went missing it was 13 nights, the second time was three nights...I can’t put into words the difference it makes

school girl walking through train station looking at phone

What to do if a child goes missing

Most children who run away return home safely but it's important to understand why it happened so it doesn't become a habit. Read our advice if you're worried a child might go missing.