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4.4.5 Young People’s Accommodation and Support Pathway: Missing Children (16/17 year olds) in Supported Accommodation Procedure  


This chapter focuses on young people 16/17 yrs, who are in supported accommodation and who go missing. Young people in this group can be particularly vulnerable and a clear balance needs to be identified between allowing young people appropriate freedoms as part of their growing up, whilst acknowledging the risks for them and that those seeking to support them may need to exercise a ‘parental role’.


Brighton and Hove Policy on Missing Children

Homeless Young People Protocol

Use of 'Unsuitable Accommodation' for Young People aged 16 – 21 yrs


Statutory Guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care (2014)

Sussex Police Missing Children Reporting Procedure


This chapter was significantly revised and amended throughout in November 2017 to reflect that Brighton and Hove follow the Sussex Police Missing Children Reporting Procedure. (See Relevant Guidance above) Additionally, the chapter includes the Procedure for When a Child/Young Person is Missing from Home or Care Flowchart.


  1. Introduction
  2. Definition of Missing
  3. Brighton and Hove Missing Children Policy and Practice
  4. Partners
  5. Basic Minimum Practices
  6. Process for Notifying BHCC / Police
  7. Interviews on Return

    Appendix 1: Procedure for When a Child / Young Person is Missing from Home or Care Flowchart

1. Introduction

This procedure is to be used when a 16 and 17 year old  people, go missing from supported accommodation.  

This includes support services which may be floating support where the young person is in temporary accommodation. This protocol should be read in conjunction with the Brighton and Hove Policy on Missing Children.

This protocol also covers 16 and 17 year olds who may have their own children. (See also Sussex Child protection & Safeguarding Procedures, Pre-Birth Child Protection Procedures).

2. Definition of Missing

Guidance on The Management, Recording and Investigation of Missing Persons Association of Chief Police Officers 2005 states that children are deemed ‘missing’ if:

  • The reason for their absence is unknown;
  • They are vulnerable;
  • Other risk factors are present.

See also Appendix A: Brighton and Hove Missing from Home Practice Guidelines, An Agreed Framework to Assess and Clarify Risk.

3. Brighton and Hove Missing Children Policy and Practice

This policy and practice guidance recognises that for young people who go missing there is the risk through their peer group or young adult associations of being drawn into child sexual exploitation, offending and substance misuse.

Please see Sussex Police Missing Children Reporting Procedure which should be followed in all cases.

The policy recognises the vulnerabilities of 16 and 17 year olds in temporary accommodation.

(Please see, Brighton and Hove Runaway and Missing from Home Practice Guidelines, The 16 & 17 year old age group – including those in unstable accommodation).

4. Partners

The partners within this protocol are:

  • BHCC Children’s Services/Housing;
  • Impact Initiatives;
  • YMCA Downslink;
  • Sanctuary Supported Living;
  • Sussex Nightstop;
  • Family Mosaic;
  • Any other supported accommodation providers.

5. Basic Minimum Practices

5.1 Inform all new young people using the service about the action that will be taken if the young person goes missing

When a young person joins the service it is important that all procedures for the introduction of the service include information for the young person on the organisation’s policy and practice on what actions they will take if young people go missing.

In supported accommodation this will link to the resident’s responsibility for ensuring they reside at the property, and they notify the provider if they are going away, and also data protection policies. This also need to be clear in the young person’s Placement Agreement is placed by Children’s Services.

It also needs to be made clear to the young person that staff will enter their room after a certain amount of time to check for information. This includes checking personal effects, or web history if there is a safety concern.

5.2 Establish patterns of behaviour

Providers should establish regular routines and behaviour of residents and keep this in their file or daily contact sheet.

5.3 Ensure data protection permission forms are in files

This will ensure the organisation has permission to discuss details with other agencies.

Photos of the young people should also be on file.

5.4 What to do before confirming that a child/young person is missing

  • Fully search the accommodation check the surrounding area and vehicles;
  • Check the home for any important leads;
  • Speak with other residents;  
  • Made all appropriate enquiries regards the whereabouts of the child including trying to contact the child themselves, friends, family, associates, appropriate locations, local hospitals and the local police custody office.

6. Process for Notifying BHCC / Police

After the above actions have been carried out and the provider has conducted a risk assessment to establish the likelihood of the young person being unsafe, depending on their vulnerabilities, BHCC or the Police should be informed.

The allocated social worker should be informed once the risk assessment above is completed. EDS should be notified of high risk cases that occur out of hours.

The police should be notified of all high risk cases.

Police may require particular information including:

  • Description of the child including their clothing;
  • Details of where the child was last seen and with whom;
  • Recent photograph;
  • Relevant addresses, known associates and addresses frequented;
  • Previous history of absenteeism and circumstances of where found;
  • Circumstances under which the child is absent;
  • Any factors that increase the risk to the child.

7. Interviews on Return

Please note, Brighton and Hove Policy on Missing Children, Arrangements for Return Interviews and Who Offers Them. 'Missing People' will conduct Return Interviews regardless of the young person's status, and a copy of the RHI will be given to the provider.

The support provider may wish to discuss the issues in keywork, and address the issues which caused the young person to go missing. (See also: Pan Sussex Child Protection & Safeguarding Procedures, Reporting All Children who Go Missing).

Service Provider staff should ensure that any key intelligence given to provider staff when young people return should be passed on to the allocated social worker, to ensure information sharing.

Appendix 1: Procedure for When a Child / Young Person is Missing from Home or Care Flowchart

Click here to view Appendix 1: Procedure for When a Child / Young Person is Missing from Home or Care Flowchart.