Supporting and safeguarding children and young people who run away from care

By law, when a child is found after running away from care, they must be offered an independent return interview. These interviews are essential in uncovering information that protects children from the risk of going missing again and to provide them with the appropriate support moving forward.

Our Independent Return to Care Coordinators are completely independent from social services, the local council, emergency services and children’s services. They work in the best interests of the child, providing a safe and trustworthy environment to speak about the things that are bothering them.

Statistics have shown that young people are more open about their reasons for running away when these interviews are undertaken by someone independent.

Missing from Care Return Interviews in Rochdale

Our Coordinators have extensive experience of engaging and building trusting relationships with young people in Rochdale. Often young people who run away from care have a distrust of professional services and can be reluctant to disclose information to them.

It is essential that they feel supported so that we can prevent their risk of harm.

Our Return to Care Coordinators will spend time with these children and young people to:

  • Establish why the child has runaway e.g. what the child may be running away from or to (also known as push and pull factors)
  • Establish what experiences the child may have encountered whilst they were missing and help them to understand the risks they faced/are facing
  • Help the child feel safe and understand that they have options to prevent future instances
  • Put them in touch with services or individuals who can support them moving forward
  • Provide the child with information on how to stay safe should they go missing in the future e.g. helpline numbers

Completing return to care interviews also means that professionals can share information, with the consent of the child, to ensure an appropriate package of care is in place, identify specific areas of concern or patterns of behaviour for those who run away and highlight ‘hotspots’ of activity and risks in local areas.

Our Return to Care Coordinators can sometimes be the only person a child trusts to speak up for them and work independently on their behalf.

Download our Professional Children's Services Leaflet: