NYAS has today launched ‘Missing Children, Missed Opportunities’, the second report in the Across the Border series comparing missing incidents of care-experienced children across England and Wales. The report can be read here.

Our Across the Border briefings are created by drawing upon NYAS’ expertise of working with care-experienced young people in both countries, with the aim of encouraging collaboration between the UK and Welsh governments in protecting children and identifying best practice.

Missing Children, Missed Opportunities focuses on the alarming rate at which care experienced children and young people are going missing across both countries, and the missed opportunities to prevent further missing episodes. The research details how England has witnessed a sharp increase in ‘out of area’ placements to the extent that two in every three (64%) children living in a residential home now live outside of their home postcodes boundary. Similarly, in 2018/19, 27% of all children in the care of local authorities across Wales were living outside of their home local authority. Children living out of area are exposed to a greater risk of criminal or sexual exploitation and are more likely to go missing than other children.

In 2019, our NYAS Return Interview Service found that the most common factor for children going missing is a breakdown in communication with their carers. The research aims to shine a light on the gaps in the system where improvements need to be made to ensure the rights of young people are protected in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

NYAS Cymru recently produced a report on this issue which was backed by all four Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales, as well as national charities and public bodies.

Rita Waters, Chief Executive of NYAS said “Care-experienced children and young people are being reported missing at alarming rates across both England and Wales. Our ‘Across the Border’ briefing series shows where each country can learn from the other, and we are calling for every child to be entitled, after a missing episode, to an independent return interview. Return interviews are a vital tool for safeguarding children and young people, as well as reducing the likelihood that they will go missing in future.”