Parents or carers of missing children

If a child goes missing, contact anyone you think may know their whereabouts.  If you are still concerned, contact your local police by dialling 101.

You don’t have to wait 24 hours before contacting the police.

What to do if a child is missing

If in doubt about whether to contact the police to formally report a child missing, for example, if a teenager doesn’t come home at a time agreed, the police will be happy to discuss this with parents or concerned adults and advise about what to do.

If you call them, the police may ask you for their photo, details of their friends or relatives, details of places the person often visits, if they have a medical condition or other relevant information.

With a relative’s permission, they may also ask to search the person’s home.  The person will be recorded as missing and their details made available to other UK police forces within 48 hours.

When a child in care goes missing

Children who go missing from care are often vulnerable when they go missing. Residential care staff and foster carers are caring for the most vulnerable young people who may run away and place themselves at risk.

We have a duty of care for any child or young person regardless of age, where they’re placed, legal status or previous difficult behaviour. It includes young people over 16 who are living independently.

The police work in partnership with social care in managing missing people and it is important that staff in both agencies work together.