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Children who run away or go missing from home or care

Advice for parents and carers

There are numerous reasons that can lead to a child going missing or running away.  As a parent or carer for a child or young person, you play a really important role in helping them to stay safe.

You can find some helpful information below or on the Missing Kids UK website

My child is missing / has run away

Children run away for a number of reasons, on most occasions they return home safely. However, if your child is missing or has run away from home, you must contact the police.  Dial 999 in an emergency situation or call your local police force immediately on 101 (or you can find details of your local force at:


The organisations below can help put you in touch with support, advice and information, but always remember to inform the police.

Getting in touch with local services:

Missing People: Offer 24 hour support, advice and practical help if you are affected by a child going missing from home.  You can contact them for free on 116 000, or email

 In 2013, national police guidance introduced a new category of an absent person, and revised their definition of a missing person.  In this guidance:

  • An absent person is defined as a “person not at a place where they are expected or required to be” and perceived to be “not at any apparent risk”.  When someone is categorised as absent, no police response is required except to monitor and review the situation.
  • missing person is defined as: “Anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established and where the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests the person may be subject of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or another.”  When someone is categorised as missing, the police will investigate their disappearance and try to find and safeguard them.

 If you are looking for advice and support for young people who are missing, or considering going missing, you can find this information on the Missing Kids UK website as above.  

Return Home Interviews

A Return Home Interview will be offered to every child who goes missing from home or care and is classed as missing, not absent.  This does not replace the Safe and Well check which should be carried out by police once a child is found or returns home.

The return home interview will be offered to every child within 72 hours of them being found by a member of Youth Services of the Children’s Specialist Support Team.

Safer Places Scheme

The scheme provides a number of local shops, businesses and amenities within Bracknell Forest that people can access for support if they are feeling anxious, intimidated, unsafe, disorientated, confused or vulnerable in the community.


Anywhere with the logo in the window is a Safe Place and can be accessed for help as above. Further information about this can be found at  

Children at Risk of Child Sexual Exploitation can also access the safer places scheme. 

Useful Information for young people

Are you thinking of running away?

Sometimes it can feel like everything is too much at home and you have no other choice but to leave. You always have a choice.

There are a lot of reasons why young people run away from home.  You might be having problems at home or at school, or you may even be being hurt or harmed in some way.  It can feel like you’ve got no one to talk to, and that running away is the only option.  That is not true.

There are lots of people who can help.  Have a look at the different places below that can give you support.  You are not alone.

Remember: if you are in any danger or feel unsafe, get in contact with the police immediately on 999, or talk to an adult you trust.

Need help and advice, or just someone to talk to?

Missing People

Missing People have a free and confidential helpline that is open 24 hours a day.  You can talk to them in confidence and they will explain your options and try to get you the help you want.

Call: 116 000

Text: 116 000



You can talk to Childline about any problem you are worried about.  They are available 24 hours a day and can talk to you in confidence.  The number won’t appear on your phone bill. 
You can call them for free on 0800 1111 or  visit the Childline website

Stay in touch

If you are away from home, people will be worried about you.  Although you might not want to come home, it is important to let people know you are safe.




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