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Important step for child care in Worcestershire
1:38pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in News
EASTBOURNE Schoolgirl Megan Stammers has been reunited with her family after going missing in France with her maths teacher.
But for every headline-grabbing case like this – where the youngster is relatively quickly brought back into the care of her loved ones – there are many more where the search is lengthy and less conclusive.
Such instances usually involve runaway children in the care of local councils.
Finding them swiftly can be difficult because of poor communications between the agencies responsible for their welfare – primarily social services departments and the police.
The difficulties of keeping track of such children in Worcestershire is compounded by the fact that there are now several private homes of which the police have little knowledge.
A new information sharing protocol between the relevant parties will help tackle this problem.
Police will be given a list of all children’s homes in the county, and a log of looked-after youngsters. This will help them act faster when a child goes missing.
It is impossible to say if this sort of co-operation would have helped vulnerable Worcester 16-year-old Jade Tyler, who was found dead in a field in 2009. However, a review of her case highlighted a lack of co-ordination between the different agencies involved with her, and this protocol appears to address such deficiencies.
The care of children cannot be done in isolation; it is a collective responsibility. It is reassuring to see it being treated that way by this important agreement.