English Coalition for Runaway Children

The English Coalition for Runaway Children is a coalition of England-based organisations that work with children and young people who run away or go missing from home or care. It exists to ensure that these vulnerable members of our society are safeguarded from harm through effective policy and appropriate services at both national and local level.

Members of the ECRC include providers of Return Interviews (RHIs), both from the third sector and from local authorities. The coalition was interested in understanding more about how return interviews are being delivered nationally, and what barriers there are to effective provision. 

Missing People, on behalf of the ECRC, sent out two Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to every local authority in England. An analysis of the responses to those requests can be found in two reports, the first focussing on the delivery of all return interviews, the second specifically considering their delivery for looked after children who are placed outside of their home local authority area.

The Delivery of Return Interviews: 

Research aims:

  • Who is delivering return interviews?
  • Are they offered to every returned missing child?
  • How often do children accept and take part in an interview?
  • What follow-up support is available?
  • What is done with the information gathered?
  • Are there any changes to national policy that could improve the effectiveness of return interviews?

Out of area placements for children in care and return interviews:

Research aims:

  • Who is delivering return interviews for children placed outside of their home area?
  • How often are those interviews taking place?
  • What are the barriers to effective return interviews for this group?
  • How much do local authorities know about return interviews for children placed in their area from others?
  • Are there any changes to national policy that could improve the effectiveness of return interviews?

Scotland and Wales

Statutory guidance relating to return interviews (also known as return discussions or debriefs) varies in each country. A summary of responses from Wales and Scotland is included in each report. 

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