Daily meetings between Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Police over missing children

Daily meetings take place between the local authority and police to discuss children in care who've gone missing, councillors have been told.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 9:51 am
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 9:52 am
42 different children went missing from care over a 12 month period.

A report published last week suggested that a youngster in the care of Wakefield Council goes missing every two days.

Although there were 180 reported cases over the course of a year, only 42 children were involved, meaning many of them go missing multiple times.

The council's corporate parenting committee, which discussed the report on Wednesday, has heard that in the overwhelming majority of cases the child comes to no harm and is missing for hours, rather than days.

The local authority also says that the number of cases is very low compared to neighbouring areas.

Presenting the report, council officer Craig Liversage said: "Every day we have a joint meeting with the police, where we review cases of any young people who've been missing overnight.

"Social workers attend that meeting and we discuss what action is required, how we intervene and what steps we might need to take.

"When they are found, we do face-to-face return home interviews and we've continued to do that throughout the pandemic."

The meeting was told that around six per cent of the children in the care of Wakefield Council, most of whom live with foster parents, go missing.

The national average, by contrast, is more than 11 per cent.

Mr Liversage added: "The work we are doing in Wakefield is very positive and we can see we have very low numbers.

"We think that's really because of the relationships we build with young people but also the network we have with carers.

"Very few of our young people go missing for long periods of time. There's lots of reasons why they go missing.

"It can be because they want to go off with their friends, they come home late, or they're having an overnight stay.

"As you'd expect there's no one reason. It's very much down to the individual circumstances at home at that time."

Local Democracy Reporting Service