Report reveals 'scandal' of children missing from care (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Waltham Forest has one of the highest numbers of children currently mising from care according to a report by the London Assembly Liberal Democrat Group
Waltham Forest has one of the highest number of children officially missing from care in London.
A report released by Liberal Democrat Group on the London Assembly shows there are currently five children who cannot be accounted for after being placed in the care of the council.
At present, Waltham Forest and Newham have the joint highest number of missing young people, although figures were not provided for every borough.
Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Police and Crime Spokeswoman described the figures as a scandal.
“The widespread failure to keep some of the most vulnerable children in our society safe while they are in the legal care of a local authority is nothing short of a disgrace,” She said.
“The facts are quite simple. A local authority looked after child who goes missing for 24 hours or more is at serious risk, including at risk of physical abuse.”
The report, entitled Looked After Children: Missing From Care, also revealed the council does not hold records for children missing before 2010.
Also data held for the number of missing children between 2010 and 2013 was “not in a systematic form” and therefore could not be used in the report.
Ms Pigeon criticised the borough and others for "losing" children.
She said: "The results, obtained by freedom of information requests submitted to 32 London Boroughs sadly speak for themselves, revealing that a serious problem exists in every part of London. Whether it is the high number of recorded missing children from so many boroughs, or the failure of some London Boroughs to even have accessible data on record relating to the children they are legally responsible for in terms of care and protection.
"I hope this report plays a role in pushing these issues up the agenda and leads to real action to address the scourge of the serious neglect facing so many of London’s most vulnerable children.”
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