Quick Exit

Missing children & young people

When a child or young person goes missing or runs away they are at risk. Estimates suggest that approximately 100,000 per year may run away from a problem, such as abuse or neglect at home, they may have been coerced to run away by someone else, or they may go to somewhere they want to be. Whatever the reason, it is thought that approximately 25 per cent of children and young people that go missing are at risk of serious harm.

Missing children are vulnerable to exploitation, violent crime, gang exploitation, or to drug and alcohol misuse. Looked after children missing from their placements are particularly vulnerable. 

National guidance:

Sheffield Missing Children Protocol:

This protocol covers actions to be taken during missing episodes, including in relation to children in care placed out of their home area. Also included are updated processes for independent return home interviews and what actions need to be taken when strategy meetings are triggered due to missing episodes. The latest national guidance is incorporated, including new police risk categories and how it is decided whether a young person is ‘missing’ or ‘away from placement without authorisation’.

Sheffield services:


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