UK Family Law Reform

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Children go missing from county's care

Published: 26/01/2014

THE county’s most vulnerable children went missing from care almost 900 times in just one year.

Last week, in good faith, we mistakenly reported that looked after children under the age of 17 in Bedford Borough had gone missing 890 times between July 2012 and June 2013. In fact the figure, quoted in a Bedford Borough Council (BBC) report, related to the whole county.

There were 36 separate ‘missing from care episodes’ relating to 12 children in the borough and the average time they disappeared for was one day. In Central Bedfordshire, 18 children went missing and in Luton the figure was just two during that time period.

A spokeswoman for BBC said: “We take this topic extremely seriously. There is nothing more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of looked after children.

“All incidents are recorded in detail, and continually monitored. The council works closely with the police to eradicate the link between children running away and the risks of sexual exploitation.”

Central Bedfordshire Councillor Mark Versallion, said: “Because a young person could be reported missing on a number of occasions over a period of time, it would be misleading to provide a monthly breakdown of missing reports.

“We work closely with the police to ensure the safe return of all young people as quickly as possible. We take this topic extremely seriously and though young people often do not state the reasons for going missing or where they go, we will work closely with the young person, their carers, social workers and the police to develop preventative strategies.”

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