The BBC is reporting statistics from ofsted that show a large increase in the instances of children going missing from foster homes last year…
Children went missing from foster care on 13,305 occasions in 2013-14 – a 36% rise on the previous year.
Nearly six out of 10 missing cases were from independent fostering agencies, rather than a local authority, which have just under a third of placements…
According to the Ofsted statistics, during the year 2013-14, 4,245 children and young people were reported to have gone missing from foster care – 900 more than in the previous year.
Contact with family or friends was the reason given in nearly half (6,596) the cases.
And most of them went missing for less than a day.
However, 528 of these children who did go missing were deemed to be at risk of sexual exploitation, and 431 of the cases were said to be linked to substance misuse.
There was also a big increase last year in foster placements breaking down – up 21% on the previous year to 5,240. Although there has been a change in the way these are counted.
Earlier this week, Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said social workers were struggling to find the time to provide agencies with enough information to match troubled and vulnerable children with the right foster carers…
A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are absolutely clear that there is nothing more important than keeping children safe.
“That is why we have placed a duty on councils to interview children who return from going missing within 72 hours, and for the first time ever we are collecting national data for all children who go missing from care, not just those missing for 24 hours.
“We have also repeatedly written to councils telling them they must improve the quality of data on children missing from care…”
It is not clear from this report if this rise is because the figures now include those missing for less than 24 hours or whether this change has been factored in. Anyone able to clarify? Thoughts on the reasons/implications? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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