Running away

Children and young people run away for a number of reasons and on most occasions they return home safely. If your child is missing or has run away from home, or you are worried about a child or young person who is missing or running away, this information  will help you to access support and be aware of what to expect from the agencies available to support you and your child.

If you are worried that your child is missing and you have taken all steps to search for your child, then it is important to report them missing to the police by calling 101. If you believe that your child is at immediate risk of harm and that for them to go missing is extremely unusual behaviour or out of character, then please contact 999.

When your child returns home

‘Safe and well checks’ are carried out by the police as soon as possible after a child reported as missing has been found. Their purpose is to check whether the child has suffered harm, where and with whom they have been, and to give them an opportunity to talk about any offences which may have been committed by or against them.

Where a child goes missing frequently, it may not be practicable for the Police to see them every time they return. In these cases a reasonable decision will be taken in agreement between the police and the child’s parent or carer, or their social worker, with regard to the frequency of such checks.

Following a child's return, a ‘Return interview’ should also be completed within 72 hours. In Leeds they are provided by a youth worker from the Youth Offer Improvement Team or your child's social worker.

Contact information

  • If you are worried that your child is missing call 101.
  • If you believe that your child is at immediate risk of harm contact 999.
  • Parentline: Provides a confidential advice and listening service for parents that provides help and support in all aspects of family life. You can call on 0808 800 2222, email, or have a live online chat with a trained support worker.
  • NSPCC: Provides a helpline for adults who are concerned about the safety or welfare of a child 0808 800 5000.
  • Missing People: Their website publicises cases of missing children. You can explore uploading the details of your child with your local police force.
  • Samaritans: Offer a confidential listening service 08457 909090.
  • If you require further support or advice, you can contact Leeds City Council Duty and Advice team on: 0113 222 4403.

If you want to find out more, or think your child should have a return interview, contact your child's social worker or the Youth Offer Improvement Team on 0113 3785033.

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