About our Missing the Point campaign
Our campaign, Missing the Point, calls on local councils to listen to and take seriously the wishes and feelings of children in their care, in order to reduce the risk of them going missing.
Record numbers of children are going missing from care and are at increased risk of harm including sexual exploitation or grooming for criminal activity.
We have found, through interviews with thousands of young people, that breakdowns in communication between young people and care providers are pushing children to go missing. Urgent action is needed to address the issue.
Did you know?
- Three quarters (75%) of NYAS Return Interviews found ‘breakdown in communication’ to be a primary reason for a child going missing.
- Of the 11,530 care-experienced young people that went missing last year, each went missing an average of 6.1 times. Where an independent NYAS return interview was offered, this number reduced to 2.8 times.
- The average cost of a return interview by NYAS is £130, but the cost to the police of a medium risk medium term missing person investigation is £2,161 (over 16 times more). This means significant savings if a return interview successfully reduces the likelihood of a young person going missing again.
- Between 2015 and 2018, the number of children going missing from ‘out of area’ homes has more than doubled.
- The number of children living ‘out of area’ continues to rise, with 64% of all young people living in children’s homes now living out of borough, up from 46% in 2012.
We are calling for changes to government and local council policies to reduce the risk of harm to children that may go missing from care.
Our ‘Missing the Point’ campaign includes three key recommendations:
- No child is forced to live ‘out of area’ unless it is in their best interests, and their wishes and feelings have been considered.
- No child is criminalised as a result of being a victim of child criminal exploitation, such as county lines.
- Every child is entitled after a missing episode to an independent return interview, conducted by someone not employed by the local authority.
Our research for parliament on children missing from ‘out of area’ care
In April 2019, NYAS responded to an inquiry held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults.
Drawing on the data we hold from our ‘Return Interview’ services across the country, NYAS’ evidenced the scale and nature of some of the issues facing care-experienced young people who go missing, and our report can be found here.
We are working with the Parliamentary Group to empower children and young people to have a direct input into their inquiry. This is in keeping with our key recommendation that the child’s wishes and feelings must be taken into account in decisions made about their placement and their lives. Read full inquiry report here.