New Help for Children Missing From Care

East Dunbartonshire Council and Strathclyde Police have announced important new measures to try to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children when they go missing from Council care. The joint protocol which incorporates elements of child protection, community safety and joint decision making, will help the Council and police identify at an early stage those children and young people who are at greatest risk from going missing from their placement in a residential unit.

The arrangements outline three different categories of risk – green, amber and red – and the expected response social work staff and the police will make in each category. Because no two situations are the same the measures will help social work staff and the police match their responses to the needs of particular situations as they arise and as they develop.

A programme of training has been developed and a range of key staff have already been trained in the new protocol. The new arrangements will be evaluated later this year to determine their success.

Cllr Fiona Risk, Convener of the Social Services Committee, said, “These new measures are vitally important in protecting vulnerable children and young people and we will work together with the police to ensure that their safety is at the centre of everything we do.

“Often the periods when children or young people run away are very short and they return unharmed. However, when this does occur, the safety and protection of the child or young person, and the wider community, are the most important factors when determining what we do and when we do it.”