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Missing Children Response Assessment Tool

When a child goes missing, it is an indication that the child may be at risk of harm. Children’s services working with other agencies must act to understand that risk and to keep the child safe, whether the reasons for going missing are conflict or abuse at home or grooming by people outside the family.

Local authorities, police and health bodies also need to think strategically about how to safeguard all children in their area from being targeted for abuse and exploitation. Going missing could be one of the indicators that a child is being groomed. Children may become the target for abusers when they are missing and rely on strangers to provide them with food and shelter. Effective partnership working is one of the key factors in ensuring that missing children receive the response they need.

What is this resource?

This resource was developed to help local safeguarding partnerships, or relevant equivalent, to think holistically about the responses they provide to children who go missing from home or care. It aims to ensure that no child falls through the gaps in how different agencies work together and communicate with each other about missing children. It can help with developing local multiagency response to missing children ensuring that adequate support is provided to all children who go missing, from an early intervention support for children who go missing for the first time to intensive support for those who go missing repeatedly or are identified at the risk of harm.

It advocates that the needs of the child and child’s experiences of missing and of services responding to missing children should be put at the heart of this response, including in systems that do not come into direct contact with the young person.

How this resource can be used?

The resource has been divided into 12 thematic areas, and takes roughly 1-2 hours to complete the first part and then a series of hour long sessions to complete the second part. It will be helpful if you have someone taking notes during this session as it is likely that actions will arise during your discussions.

The first part of the benchmarking tool consists of questions about how well your area is prepared to respond if a child goes missing, how well the response to missing children works and how well agencies work together to reduce the likelihood of a child going missing again. It would be useful if someone was taking notes during this session as it is likely that actions will arise during your discussion.

On completion of the questionnaire you will be presented with a report letting you know how you are doing in each area. You can also get a copy of your answers sent to your email (if you provide one). You will need to save a copy of your results page.

The report will highlight the thematic area(s) where more focussed further self- assessment is required. Click the next button below to start the tool.

Thematic Checklists
You have the option to view all the thematic checklists by clicking here or download the individual checklists via the report at the end of this questionnaire. 

These checklists can be used to self-assess the level of response provided and facilitate discussions about what may need to change to improve the response. 

You can also find a series of helpful resources by
clicking here
Resources: Click here to download this resource Information Sheet