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Missing children on the child protection register

Section 4

All practitioners should immediately notify the social worker and the police if they become aware that a child whose name is on the child protection register is missing.


  • the social worker should consult with the responsible team manager and make urgent enquiries in consultation with the police in order to locate the child;
  • the point at which a family is deemed “missing” will depend on the known facts about the family and the assessed seriousness of the situation. The major reason for trying to locate such families is that the disappearance may indicate further abuse has occurred.
  • the social worker should liaise closely with the police to ensure that there is no duplication of effort and that all enquiries are co-ordinated and recorded. The senior manager for safeguarding in social services should be informed. Legal advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity.
  • if all efforts to locate the child fail, the appropriate manager in social services may request assistance from: the local Department of Work and Pensions office; the Child Benefit Centre; health organisations, education and schools; UK Immigration Services.
  • the social worker should inform the custodian of the child protection register and the custodian should consider whether to circulate details of the missing family to all custodians of child protection registers throughout Wales and the United Kingdom. The custodian may liaise with the designated health professional for safeguarding to decide what if any circulation should be initiated within the National Health Service.
  • when the family is found, the social worker should be notified and will follow the procedure for the transfer of cases on the child protection register where appropriate. The social worker will also ensure that all other agencies are informed as well as the custodian of the register. For pre-school children health professionals have a crucial role in alerting other agencies if a child is missing.