Call for answers over number of Scottish children in care reported missing

Chris Marshall - The Scotsman

"Nearly 2,000 children in care were reported missing to the police last year [in Scotland," says this article from the Scotsman. To address these rising numbers, the Scottish Government has announced the allocation of funding to a project that seeks to raise awareness among young people in care about the risks of running away. The funds were granted to two organizations - Barnardo's and Missing People - to develop materials to encourage children to access support. "Figures released last year showed a small number of children in care had gone missing hundreds of times in a year, with children in residential units or foster homes accounting for one third of all missing person cases for Police Scotland." Very few of them, says the article, sought professional help. Duncan Dunlop, chief executive of Who Cares? Scotland called the number of care-experienced young people who go missing "worrying." 

"It’s really important to understand what is making children want to leave somewhere that is supposed to keep them safe and what is leading to care staff contacting the police so often. Research from the Howard League and the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice shows that this level of police involvement in children’s lives can have a longer term impact on how they see themselves and the police. Our own research shows that children are at times running away in search of love and away from an environment which they feel is controlling. What the data makes clear is that there is an issue. It is only by listening to Care Experienced people and respecting their perspective that we can understand what is happening and change it.”