Source: Wales Online
Author: Thomas Deacon
Hundreds of children from Wales, who have been taken into state care, have gone missing – including a baby who was less than a year old. The children are all at risk of – or could have been experienced – exploitation on the streets, abuse and human trafficking.
According to an investigation conducted by Wales Online, “Figures obtained through freedom of information requests found dozens of children in care were reported missing between January 2015 and May 2017 in at least 1,695 separate missing incidents, with some children going missing on multiple occasions.
Caerphilly council’s response revealed teenage girls and boys as young as 14 were missing for as long as several weeks at a time, including a boy missing throughout the whole of last Christmas.
Catriona Williams, chief executive of charity Children in Wales, said it was “extremely dangerous” that the whereabouts of children in care were potentially unknown, adding that they were “particularly targeted” by paedophiles and drug dealers…”
And,”According to data from the National Crime Agency, 43% of missing children incidents in Wales in the 2015-16 financial year related to children in care, who account for fewer than 1% of the child population…”
Local authorities are charged with finding the children and promised to do better. It seems no one in social services or the government is investigating the circumstances which lead up to the children going missing from state care, whether placements are safe, or if the children are being properly monitored by social workers.
As of March 2016, close to 6,000 children have been taken into state care in Wales. What happens to the children when they go missing remains unknown.
I urge Wales Online to continue its investigation, and this news outlet may be the only hope we have for getting some answers – and giving voice to these vulnerable children, who have disappeared without any real urgency from the system to find them.