The number of children being sent to live in children’s homes outside their own borough has soared despite a government pledge to clampdown on distant placements.
Ann Coffey, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Missing Children and Adults, said the latest figures were ‘bitterly disappointing’ coming four years after the government said it would reduce the numbers.
A high proportion of children placed miles away from their home area go missing and are at risk of harm.
According to Parliamentary answers obtained by Ms Coffey from the Department for Education, there was a 56 per cent increase nationally in children placed in children’s homes out of their borough from 2,250 in March 31, 2012 to 3,510 in March 31, 2016.
The total number of looked after children increased from 67,050 in March 2012 to 70,440 in March 2016. During the same period the number of children placed in children’s homes increased from 4,890 to 5,940.
Children and young people from middle-class families are in danger of being groomed by urban criminal gangs to sell drugs in county towns, according to a new report.
Today’s report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults follows the revelation from the National Crime Agency last year that 80 per cent of police areas are now reporting exploitation of children by criminal gangs.
The NCA said that using children in ‘county lines’ operations – the supply of class A drugs from Urban areas to county towns – has spread out from London gangs to the rest of the country, including Greater Manchester and Liverpool.
Today’s APPG report warns that children and young people from ‘stable and economically better off backgrounds’ are being drawn in, coerced and exploited by criminal gangs.
Ann Coffey MP has welcomed the introduction of a new National Missing Persons Register as the number of missing children incidents in Greater Manchester continues to increase.
The new Register, to be introduced in 2018, will allow police forces to access information about children going missing across force boundaries, which they cannot do at the moment.