Saturday, 6 February 2016

Children missing from care

"Many of the child sex abuse scandals that have shocked Britain in recent years involve victims who were supposed to be under the protection of the state - children identified as at risk by child protective services and in the care of local authorities."

"Many in Britain have characterised the abuses as a thing of the past. Surely such horrors could never happen today. But an analysis of the most recent official data shows that each year the government loses track of around 2,000 vulnerable children in care, even as reports of human trafficking inside the country are on the rise."

"Moved by a string of revelations of abuse involving entertainers, politicians and other public figures, Home Secretary Theresa May in February named New Zealand High Court Judge Lowell Goddard to chair a nationwide inquiry into decades of child sex abuse - much of it involving children in care."

"At any given time, more than 30,000 children in England are in the care of local authorities, who monitor their progress and oversee their placement in government-run children`s homes or with foster-care givers or other guardians. The authorities try to keep track of what happens to children who officially leave the care system, logging them in categories such as children who are adopted, returned to parents or family, taken into foster care, those who have grown out of care and those deceased. But children who don`t fall into these categories - for instance, those who run away or end up homeless, abducted, trafficked, or worse - are lumped into a category that the U.K. Department for Education simply labels `other,` also known as `E8.`"

"An analysis of the data shared with Newsweek show that, according to Education Department 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 `other` reasons, including 180 babies under the age of 1. In the same period in 2012, about 2,260 children left the system for 1
`other` reasons, including 160 babies. Detailed figures for 2014 are not yet available."

"According to Mike Murphy-Pyle, a spokesman for the Education Department, local authorities are given no guidance on how they should fill out the `other` category. `It is for everything else not covered by the other categories provided,` he says. U.K. Education Minister Edward Timpson declined to comment. "

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