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Children missing from home or care

In all missing persons cases you are advised to first contact the police and file a missing persons report, listen to the police advice given and act accordingly.

Every situation is different and there are no set rules about when a child should be considered missing; however If you are concerned about a very young child you should contact the emergency services immediately. For young people, if you have any doubts about whether to formally report them missing, for example, when a teenager fails to return home after a time they have agreed, contact the police.

Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Board has an identified protocol that applies to all children and young people that go absent without permission from their parents, carers, residential carers or foster carers; which defines the roles and responsibilities of the Police, Children's Social Care, and carers. For a child known to social care services ie: looked after children or children the subject of a child protection plan there is clear guidance regarding reporting a child missing.

If you are a child or young person who needs support and advice, and would like to talk to someone in confidence you can contact the ‘Runaway Helpline’ on 116000, Text: 116000 or Email: 116000@missingpeople.org.uk; this is free and a 24 hour service. You can also talk to Childline about any problem you are worried about. They are available 24 hours a day and can talk to you in confidence; You can call them for free on 0800 1111 (this number wont appear on a telephone bill). If you are currently away from home, people will be worried about you and although you might not want to come home, it is important to let people know you are safe. Remember: if you are in any danger or feel unsafe, get in contact with the police immediately on 999, or talk to an adult you trust.

Children Services have an identified coordinator in relation to children who are missing from home or care. They are contactable on 0113 247 8652, if you would like further advice as a child, young person, parent, carer or professional.