CELCIS has published Just out having a good time, an evaluation of
the pilot project: Looked After Children Who Go Missing from Residential
and Foster Care in Scotland – a National Partnership Agreement.
Young people in residential and foster care are often reported
missing when, in fact, they have chosen to stay out later than planned
and are often at no risk; they will not see themselves as missing,
rather that they are simply having a good time. Repeated police-led
missing person investigations can therefore result in these young people
being stigmatised (sometimes, criminalisation of their actions too) for
what is generally seen as typical behaviour among many young people.
Three Scottish local authorities, Dundee City Council, The City of
Edinburgh Council and South Lanarkshire Council took part in a pilot
project to look at this. The partners were chosen because they all had
pre-existing protocols in place. Police Scotland compiled a data summary
report which included information on the number of incidents of young
people being reported missing from children’s houses in the three pilot
local authority areas. This partnership group then invited CELCIS to
assist in the evaluation of the project and we worked with young people,
police, residential staff, and others involved in the use of the
The evaluation found that a key strength of the Partnership Agreement
is the communication and the sharing of information between police and
local authority partners in particular, but also between children’s
houses, and beyond. Return Interviews are recognised in the gathering of
police intelligence, and for offering of support to the young person
who had been missing.
The evaluation recommends adopting this partnership approach as best practice across Scotland.