Established in 2013, the Gwent Missing Children Hub brings together police officers, social workers, health workers and education representatives to respond to the 300 children a month who have gone missing or run away from home. They work together in a co-ordinated way to share information and assess the risks to which these young people may be vulnerable.
The report, commissioned by the Welsh Government on behalf of Gwent Police, found that the Hub is achieving its aims of improving the lives and outcomes of children who go missing, safeguarding children, and reducing the number of missing children episodes.
According to the report, the Hub’s success lies in the co-location of agencies, a shared risk assessment tool and an integrated IT system, all of which make the sharing of information, including police intelligence, easier. The independent de-brief and mediation service provided by Llamau, involving the young people in decisions that affect them and in the support their families receive and improving the knowledge and skills of practitioners are also identified as positive factors.
In addition to the benefits to the young people and their families, case study research showed that while one of the Hub’s interventions is estimated to have cost around £1,500, it resulted in approximately £6,300 of savings in the long term by avoiding repeat disappearances and improving school attendance, making a saving to the tax payer of around £4,800.
Public Services Minister, Leighton Andrews AM said:
“The Gwent Missing Children Hub is an excellent example of how collaboration can help public services to improve lives and make savings at the same time.
"By working together to share information, avoid duplication and improve knowledge and by working with the young people and their families to provide support, long term solutions which prevent repeat disappearances and improve the lives of all involved can be found.
“In coming together in this innovative way, we are responding to and supporting the most vulnerable people in our society.”