Missing Children

Welcome to the Missing Children section of the Breaking the Cycle website

The primary aim of the Gwent Missing Children’s Team is to recognise an episode of a child being reported missing or absent to Gwent police as an indicator to that something is wrong in the child’s life. Further, to utilise it to explore the underlying issues for both the child and within the wider family and refer and sign post the family to the most appropriate services, thus ‘Breaking the Cycle’ of dysfunction and abuse, stop the missing episodes and reduce the associated risks.

This is achieved by incorporating three elements;

  1. Creating a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Framework (MIRAF) risk assessment
  2. Ensuring the child (under 18) is debriefed by an independent worker
  3. Training front line staff to understand the elements of missing and absent, how to report and respond to both and to utilise the MI The Debrief

In May 2015 Barnardo’s undertook a review of the pilot Missing & Return Interview Service for young people in Buckinghamshire which stated:

“Return interviews play a crucial role in the identification of the reasons for a young person’s missing episode and in addressing the need of the young person with regards to risk/harm experienced both prior to, during, and after their missing episode.”

The current structure of the team offers two full time debrief workers and one part time mediation worker. They are provided by Llamau, the charity that won the tender for the service in Gwent, and are funded by the Big Lottery grant.

At the point of the MIRAF being created (or updated following any additional missing episodes) the police will refer the child to the debrief workers.

Missing People Charity describes a debrief as:

“A debrief, also known as a ‘return interview’ is a chance for a young person to talk about what caused them to go missing or run away, what happened while they were missing and how they are feeling now they have been found. It’s a chance for them to disclose any troubles or any harm they have suffered and get help dealing with these problems”

And Barnardo’s state, the debrief or return interview is:

“An effective way to identify children at risk of significant harm. It helps to reduce and even prevent, further episodes of running away by helping children understand the risks of being away from their families and carers” 

Mediation

The need for mediation is identified by the debrief worker, they will speak to the child and their family and when appropriate and it is felt the process would be beneficial the debrief worker may suggest a referral, this is often welcomed. During the period April to June 2016 51 mediation sessions have taken place.

One Mother wrote to the service manager:

'Myself and Jasmine have been working with Katie since December 2015 when we were referred after Jasmine being reported missing. At that time our relationship was a constant battle and we were arguing daily. I was struggling to keep Jasmine safe and was always worrying as she wasn’t coming home on time every night and I didn’t know where she was or what she was doing.  By having mediation with Katie, we have been able to sit down together and discuss issues calmly without things boiling over and it ending in an argument and we now have a much more open and trusting relationship because of this.'

'Jasmine understands the dangers and risks of being missing now and I have also been given the information and advice that I needed to report her properly. Jasmine hasn’t been missing since last year and now comes home on time.'

'Katie made a referral for Jasmine to receive some confidence and self-esteem support and she meets with them weekly and is really enjoying it and getting on well. I can’t think of anything that Katie could have done differently or better and we are both so much happier now that we have done mediation.'

'We are both grateful for Katie’s involvement and would recommend the service to any family that are having difficulties.'