Half of local authorities in England do not have policies to
protect young runaways a year after guidelines were issued, a study
The Children’s Society found that about half of the 91 councils
that responded were unable or unwilling to answer questions on
whether they had fulfilled Department of Health guidelines.
The recommendations included the establishment of interagency
protocols for missing children and the appointment of a runaways’
manager to monitor the system.
A charity spokesperson said: “Where staff are not clear about what
the policies are it suggests that the policies aren’t in place or
aren’t communicated to staff.
“And where policies aren’t known or communicated to staff there
doesn’t seem to be much point in having them.”
By contrast, the charity’s findings show that only one in seven
councils have fully implemented the guidelines’ key
recommendations. Nearly half only have protocols in place for
children running away from care.
The survey comes as The Children’s Society launches its Safe &
Sound? campaign. This calls for a national network of emergency
accommodation and for local authorities to provide the support for
young runaways that the government has recommended.
– Survey from www.childrenssociety.org.uk