Exploitation of Missing Looked-after Children

23 Oct 2019
House of Commons Hansard

Ann Coffey (Stockport) (IGC)

I beg to move,


That this House has considered the matter of sexual and criminal exploitation of missing looked after children.


It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Evans. In 2012, an expert working group was set up by the then children’s Minister, the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton), at the Department for Education, to look at—among other issues—out-of-area placements of children. That was because of the high number of looked-after children in children’s homes going missing, and concerns about their vulnerability to sexual exploitation. That group was set up partly in response to the 2012 inquiry by the all-party parliamentary group for runaway and missing children and adults, supported by The Children’s Society and Missing People. One of the objectives of that expert group was to make recommendations that would improve the care system, so that


“children are safer and better cared for in residential care—not disproportionately at risk of…exploitation”


because of their vulnerability. The group stated that placements should be


“close to home unless it is in the best interests of the child to be placed out of area”.


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