Looked after children are disproportionately likely to be reported missing. Over 1 in 8 children in care go missing every year compared to 1 in 200 children who are not in care. Many of these children are automatically referred to secure accommodation on their return, not giving the young person the opportunity to discuss their reasons for going missing in the first place.

Ben Twomey is the Director of Policy and Research for NYAS (the National Youth Advocacy Service), a leading children’s rights charity that empowers care-experienced young people to have their voices heard. Ben designs NYAS’ policies, drives their campaigns, conducts research and evaluations, and is responsible for influencing politicians and decision-makers across England and Wales.

In this video, Ben discusses the risk of harm and exploitation to children in care when they go missing, as well as the value of return interviews as an alternative to secure accommodation for looked-after children returning from a missing episode.

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Over 1 in 8 children in care go missing every year. They are at risk of criminal and sexual exploitation, and when they return, are often put in secure accommodation. We heard from the National Youth Advocacy Service about why secure accommodation isn’t always the best option and why open communication can be the best way forward in these situations.

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