6,110 children missing from care in a year

The Department for Education has released data for the first time on children missing from care. Across the year to 31 March 2015, the whereabouts were unknown of 6,110 children in the care of English local authorities. Since this is the first time such information has been collected from local authorities, the government advises readers to treat it with caution. The data indicates:

  • 6,110 children went missing a total of 28,570 times, an average of 4.7 times per child
  • The most common duration of time away was 1-2 days (accounting for 55% of the 28,570 incidents)
  • On 230 occasions, children went missing for more than 30 days
  • Secure units, children’s homes and hostels were the most common setting from which children were missing (accounting for 51% of the 28,570 incidents)
  • The vast majority of children missing from care were aged 10 and over, though 110 were aged under 10.

There were 99,230 children looked after in 2014/15: the percentage of those going missing at least once was 6%.

The data (Table G1) can be downloaded here.

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