50% of children in care go missing. 250,000 children go missing in the UK every year. That’s 5000 a week, or 700 every day. That’s a lot of kids. And it doesn’t seem to be a main priority of anyone to solve the problem. Shopping centres are far more important.
A child I know has disappeared, and I can see how it’s been done. It’s really not very difficult.
Children in care are easier to steal because they can be isolated from people that care about them very easily. Children in care is a misnoma, because they do not have a single person overseeing their well being, as a loving mother, or father, or relative, or friend or neighbour, would normally do.
The people that form caring relationships with children-in-care are social workers, teachers, foster carers, and various others, who are all PAID to do a job. They care, but they also have other demands, other children to care about too, and they need a break at times. Social workers and teachers are all overloaded with too many needy children on their books. They can’t possibly get really involved in just one. Not only do they not have the time, it is now frowned upon and seen as “grooming” for abuse if there is too much involvement.
To disappear a child, you weaken all the links by moving a child around from foster home to foster home, from school to school, and keep changing the social worker. Every time the child is moved, the official responsibility is moved too. Any personal link is removed, and it just becomes a new case for a new staff member. It is very hard to track a child, or maintain any link with a child that is no longer your professional remit, even if you have the spare time and inclination to do it. You just assume that someone in another department is on the case. It’s really easy to move these children, they usually have difficulties settling, which creates a reason for a solution “in their best interests”. A move. A move to somewhere new with a new set of people.
The best time to disappear a child is when they are relatively new at a home and a school, before proper relationships have formed, when there is no established circle of caring adults around them. Then no one asks questions. The child “runs away”. This is so common that it is not even questioned. Teachers and social workers assume someone has it in hand, maybe the police, and get on with all the other needy kids that require endless amounts of time and energy. The foster home will be given a replacement child to keep them busy and paid.
Can anyone question it anyway? Information on the child will be confidential. But there is one really good trick the authorities can use to stop the questions, stop any probing, just in case there are people out there who still care. They announce that the child has been found and is “safe”. I don’t like the word “safe”. It makes me think of stuff locked up in a vault, imprisoned. Mysteriously the child is never seen again, but at least everyone knows for certain he or she is “safe”. The authorities have it under control.
The authorities have the child! Now no one is watching, the severance is complete. And they have captured another child.