"Campaigners and MPs have condemned the failure of the care system in the UK to keep track of children under its protection as a disgrace after Newsweek revealed that around 2,000 children per year ‘go missing’ from official records, and warned that many of these children could become victims of sexual exploitation."
"Analysis of data shared with Newsweek shows that, according to the Department of Education’s statistics for the year ending March 31, 2013, around 1,910 children (legally defined as under the age of 18) left the care system in England for unknown reasons, including 180 babies under the age of one. In the same period in 2012, about 2,260 children left the system for unknown reasons, including 160 babies. Detailed figures for 2014 are not yet available."
"When children officially leave the care system, they are logged by the authorities in categories providing the reason for their withdrawal. These categories include children who are adopted, returned to parents or family, taken into foster care, those who have grown out of care and those who are deceased. But children who don’t fall into these categories are placed into a category that the Department for Education simply labels "other," also known as "E8".
"It’s disgraceful," says Phil Frampton, the former national chair of the Care Leavers Association. "It is clear that the government and local authorities don’t take seriously their responsibilities for the young people in their care. It’s quite likely that these children have fallen into the hands of sexual exploiters, they may well have been trafficked; who knows what’s happened to these children."
"Some of these young people who go missing end up murdered. Some of the children murdered by Fred West were young people who had gone missing from care homes."...
"We have also repeatedly written to councils telling them they must improve the quality of data on children missing from care."
"Both Ed Timpson, the current parliamentary under-secretary of state for children and families, and his predecessor, Tim Loughton, declined to comment to several requests from Newsweek."