Ann Coffey

Tag Archives: Missing children


Newsnight: Children trapped in dangerous ‘twilight’ world

I was interviewed for Newsnights special report on children who are placed in unregistered children’s homes.  They found that 5,000 children are living in pop-up children’s homes across England.  The full report can be watched on BBC iPlayer until 20th May 2019 here – https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0005bsc/newsnight-20052019

More information below.

Sixteen year old children are being dumped in a shady ‘twilight world’ of unregistered homes making them a magnet for paedophiles and drugs gangs, according to a survey of police forces.

Deep concerns about unregistered semi-independent homes for children aged 16 plus have been highlighted in the survey conducted by Ann Coffey MP, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Missing Children and Adults.

These 16 plus establishments are off the radar, unregistered and not subject to any inspections, unlike children’s homes for under 16s which are properly registered and inspected by Ofsted.

The All Party Parliamentary Inquiry for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, is currently conducting a Parliamentary inquiry into the risks faced by the record numbers of children who go missing after being sent to live in children’s homes miles away from where they were born and brought up.

As part of the inquiry Ms Coffey wrote to all 43 police chief constables to ask for their observations about the risks faced by young people who go missing from out of area placements.

It was striking that the majority of police forces flagged up strong concerns about the increasing problem of children aged 16 plus being placed out of borough in unregistered semi-independent homes.

Amongst the police concerns highlighted about the shady 16 plus accommodation:

  • No registration
  • No inspection – “an inspection and sanction void for poorly performing providers”
  • High proportion of children repeatedly runaway. They are the ‘hidden missings’
  • Children targeted by those wishing to exploit them for sex or to run drugs. “These premises are often well known to local criminals and are seen as an easy target location for recruitment of new children”.
  • Poorly managed homes in cheap locations
  • ‘Pop up’ children’s homes for 16 plus emerging in areas of high deprivation because there is no regulation and housing is much cheaper, heightening the risk of the most vulnerable children of being exploited.
  • Poor untrained staff fighting hand to hand with a young resident in the street
  • No full time staff on site
  • Situated in risky areas putting young people into close proximity to sexual exploitation and criminal exploitation risks, with easy access to illegal drugs
  • Girls targeted and groomed and trafficked to other areas
  • One girl went missing and was imprisoned by a gang
  • A child who had been sexually exploited housed alongside a perpetrator of CSE
  • One young person stabbed another after social services knowing placed two opposing gang members in the same unregistered home
  • Providers often house adults who may be criminals themselves

Parliamentary inquiry into the scandal of ‘sent away’ children

26th March 2019

MPs will today launch a Parliamentary inquiry into the record numbers of children who go missing after being ‘farmed out’ to live in children’s homes miles away.

 

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults is concerned that there is growing evidence that a ‘sent away generation’ of vulnerable youngsters are in danger of falling prey to paedophiles and drugs gangs.

 

One thousand more individual children in out of area placements have gone missing from children’s homes since 2015, according to new Department for Education figures released today by Ann Coffey MP, who will chair the inquiry.

 

This has more than doubled from 990 in 2015 to 1,990 in 2018 and compares to a 31 per cent increase for children who go missing from children’s homes within their own borough.

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Soaring Number of Children still being sent to Children’s Homes miles away

20th September 2017

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.

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