Missing from Care: Rethinking our approach to children who go missing in Out-Of-Home-Care

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


Research conducted with residential care and criminal justice professionals in New South Wales, Australia, has raised concerns about how we respond to children who go missing from care. These children are often viewed as problematic and delinquent rather than as vulnerable children in need. Dismissed as merely ‘absent without permission’ or as ‘self-placers’, some children who go missing are viewed distinct from, and less worthy than, children who are seen as ‘genuinely missing’. This places children who go missing from care at risk of harm and renders them susceptible to inadequate agency responses.

This paper explores the dichotomy whereby systems in place designed to protect children can instead lead to devastating outcomes for those who go missing from care, contributing to the cohort’s overrepresentation in the criminal justice system, high rates of youth homelessness, and, as occurred in Rotherham in the UK, in the potentially catastrophic failure to act on organised child sexual exploitation and trafficking. system.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
EventNational Missing Persons Conference - Mercure Sydney Hotel, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 15 Nov 201716 Nov 2017
https://missingpersons.gov.au/sites/default/files/PDF%20-%20Publications/NMPCC/NMPC2017Agenda20171027.pdf (Conference program)
http://www.missingpersons.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/missingpersons/conference-2017.aspx (Conference abstracts available with login)


ConferenceNational Missing Persons Conference
Abbreviated titleMissing People: Challenges & Opportunities
OtherMore than 38,000 people are reported missing to police each year in Australia; one person every 15 minutes, and more than 100 people every day.

The inaugural national missing persons’ conference is being held in November, in Sydney. The conference is open to law enforcement, government and non-government agencies, counsellors, and practitioners working in the missing persons sector via registration through missingpersonsconference2017.eventbrite.com.au

The aim of the conference is to enhance knowledge and improve service delivery through a collaborative approach, and promote best practice for those investigating missing persons, and those affected by the loss of a missing loved one.
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Missing from Care: Rethinking our approach to children who go missing in Out-Of-Home-Care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this