A government initiative  to improve safeguarding means that councils will over runaway children an interview on their return. This new requirement features in statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home,  published in January 2014.

In a press release Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said:

For too long support for children who have gone missing has been patchy. Our new rules mean that every child will now have the chance to talk to a sympathetic, independent person. Only then will we find out why they ran away and if they came to harm, and help to make sure they don’t run away again.

The new guidelines are available here and include the following:

The interview and actions that follow from it should:

  •  identify and deal with any harm the child has suffered – including harm that might not have already been disclosed as part of the ‘safe and well check’ – either before they ran away or whilst missing
  •  understand and try to address the reasons why the child ran away
  •  help the child feel safe and understand that they have options to prevent repeat instances of them running away
  •  provide them with information on how to stay safe if they choose to run away again, including helpline numbers.