Shame of councils who can’t even admit how many cared-for children they’ve LOST

[Image: PA.]

This Writer is appalled that Powys County Council – my own local authority – has refused to confess the number of vulnerable children who have gone missing while in the care of its social services department.

Perhaps “care” is too grand a description for whatever these kids experienced. After all, if an authority is too ashamed to give numbers of those it has lost, what else has been happening to them?

It isn’t even as though the council has no mechanism for recording instances of children in care going missing – the All-Wales Protocol on Missing Children states that “each agency should have its own guidance and recording systems in respect of children going missing”.

I remember Joyce Watson AM telling Brecon and Radnorshire Constituency Labour Party that children in care were in danger of going missing, several years ago. She said that Powys had a terrible record of failing to provide information then, and it is an indictment against that authority and everybody working for it that the situation should not have changed, even after rules were imposed by the Welsh Government.

Still, Powys isn’t alone. Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot and Monmouthshire also refused to provide information when the Western Mail requested it, and Anglesey said the data was “not kept” – an admission that should put that authority in very hot water (and I don’t mean the Menai Strait and the Irish Sea).

Other councils also provided excuses, meaning only 13 were able to give accurate information – and this was damning enough.

It showed that 115 children were reported missing on 1,695 occasions between January 2015 and May 2017. Clearly, this means some children disappeared more than once. Some were gone for weeks at a time. And a baby boy, less than a year old, was among those reported missing.

Let’s be honest – it seems likely that Catriona Williams of Children in Wales is right:

These children are being targeted by paedophiles and drug dealers. But weren’t they put in care to prevent them from coming to harm?

Just what in blazes are these councils doing? Councillors legally have a parental duty to these youngsters – would they allow their own children to be treated in this way?

And what, exactly, will be done about it?

I think we all know the answer to that. It’s the same thing that was done after Joyce Watson revealed the numbers of children going missing to me and my colleagues in Brecon and Radnorshire, all those years ago: Nothing.

To all those who consider that judgement to be too harsh – especially those working for Welsh social services departments, and most particularly those in Powys, I have just one thing to say:

Prove me wrong.


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6 thoughts on “Shame of councils who can’t even admit how many cared-for children they’ve LOST

  1. aunty1960

    Like the banner change.

    I am not surprised, social services and councils do not care about the vulnerable children put in their care, many are neglected, abused, sexually exploited and groomed in their care, many are left to their own devices and abscond regularly.

    The fact is and I am surprised and shocked that several tens of thousands of children disappear each year and not refound. The Madeleine McCanns and Paines are just the media tip of the iceberg. Many go missing, not a word and especially if they are in council and social care.

    Its a disgrace, but then “care” is too, whether childrens care, disabled care or special needs care.

    1. Dez

      It has been a total disgrace for many years all over the UK. The Social Services appropriately nicknamed the “SS” frequently hit the headlines when they drag innocent parents into the still secret family courts on loose pretext of a childs safety being compromised. The SS usually get their way because the authorities and legal systems are heavily rigged against the parents and the child is removed from the parents. That is bad enough but to steal children and put them into a worse environment than they were actually in and where the authorities just do not care about them once they have them in their control. They are incapable of looking after children if they cannot even keep an accurate record of them and the kids fall into far worse hands than had they stayed with parents who only needed support and some quidance to deal with the initial matter. I was also surprised when I looked up the declaration of interests of Councillor members who sit on several sub committes that ultimately manage/control children. Many have declared interests in foster care, children homes and adoption agencies and the like usually conservative. We know what Cons think about vulnerable humans..

      1. joanna

        When I was 15yrs in care, 5 teenagers absconded one night, when the police asked the staff what their eye colour was, they didn’t know. I did because I was trying to live below the radar, to minimise the brutal bullying I was going through, I even knew what they were wearing and they were caught that night. The point is eye colour Should be on file but it wasn’t.

  2. joanna

    They maybe running away because of abuse, let’s face it, many “looked after” children are being seen as young offenders. No-one wants to think about how the children got to be there, it is easier for people in the community to forget about them, after all who wants to think about troublesome children, who may have broken the law to get where they are? It’s their fault right? Wrong!!

    It is easy for a paedophile to get past the vetting process , if they haven’t previously been suspected or charged with such a crime. There are many reasons for a child to abscond, the SS don’t want to “waste” resources to try to find them!!

  3. jeffrey savies

    yet years ago they did look after them i played with many from the council run homes but it seems today care is something they dont do we should all be asking how and why they lossing children

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