Ann Coffey


Sexual and criminal exploitation of children who go missing from care

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Earlier today I led a debate in Parliament on the sexual and criminal exploitation of children who go missing from care.

In the report ‘No Place at Home‘ the All-Party Parliamentary Group highlighted the risks facing children who go missing from out of area placements – we found that children sent to live many miles away from their home area were being targetted for exploitation by criminal gangs and paedophiles.

In 2012 we recognised that placing children out of area increases a child’s risk of harm.

Despite government promises to reduce the numbers of children placed out of area, the situation is getting worse.  There has been a 77% rise in the number of children in children’s homes placed out of area since 2012 and a doubling in the numbers of children reported missing from children’s homes since 2015.

The children’s homes market is broken and failing children. There is an uneven distribution of children’s homes across the country and three-quarters of children’s homes are privately run.

The Government must take action to support councils to reduce the number of children sent to live miles from home and ensure there are more local placements.

We cannot continue to fail the most vulnerable children.

Those interested can watch my speech below.  The full debate can be viewed on Parliament TV here.

A copy of my speech is available here.