Following recent high profile child protection matters such as Baby Peter and the Rochdale case, an investigation is being made into the issue of vulnerable children and young adults ‘missing from care’. This is a matter which has not been high on the political agenda until recently and in light of the above cases but two influential parliamentary groups, chaired by Ann Coffrey MP and supported by many peers and MPs from across the political parties, have already started working together to investigate the issue.
They have been supported by charities Missing People, the Who Cares Trust and the Children’s Society and have been speaking to children who have run away from care. Also consulted have been ministers, the Child Exploitation and Online protection Agenda, Ofsted, the voluntary sector, police forces and local authorities. All have spoken of the need for change.
What seems to be resulting from the investigation so far is that many of the vulnerable children who do go missing from care are being failed by those people and systems which are supposed to be protecting them. Also highlighted is the poor quality of some children’s home and other care placements.
Tim Loughton MP, the children’s minister, has acknowledged this and spoken about the need to improve the quality of children’s homes.