Children in care

Our responsibilities

We try to protect all children and young people in the borough, but especially children in care who are particularly vulnerable. Their risk of being harmed increases significantly if they’re on the run.

If a young person in our care goes missing, we’re responsible for reporting their disappearance to the police and for doing everything we can to secure their safe return. We’re also responsible for liaising with the police if young people go missing from home.

When a young person goes missing, we gather as much information as we can about their circumstances to see if there's a reason for them running away and to help us find them and bring them back into care.

We work with various agencies in our search for the missing young person, using the joined-up approach set out in the South Yorkshire runaways Joint Protocol. This helps us work together more effectively, share responsibilities, and make joint decisions.

Getting help if you've run away from care

If you’ve run away from care, lots of people will be worrying about you.

Please call our emergency Duty Team on 0844 984 1800 so that we can talk about what's troubling you and why you felt the need to run away. We might be able to sort things out for you.

Other people that can offer support are Safe@last and Family Lives.


If you've run away from the place you normally live and you're worried, scared, cold or lonely, Safe@Last may be able to help you. If you're thinking about running away - don't run - ring Safe@Last.

Safe@Last is a charity that works with children and young people at risk of running away. They also work in schools to educate and inform children about the risks and dangers of running away.

They have a 24 helpline (0800 335 7233) which is free and confidential or you can text SAFE plus your message to 60777.  The young people's section of their website includes a web chat from 4 to 6pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Safe@Last can offer you ongoing one-to-one support to help with your issues. 

If you're a parent, you can find more information about the service on their general information pages.

Safe@Last is based at Unit 108 Great House, Waterside Business Park, Rotherham Road, Dinnington, S25 3QA and  provides the only refuge in England. 

Family Lives

Family Lives is a national family support charity providing help and support to families in all aspects of their lives. including:

  • child development
  • issues with schools
  • parenting/relationship support
  • family breakdown
  • aggression in the home
  • bullying
  • teenage behaviour and mental health
  • concerns of parents and their children

They're available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They listen, support and never judge. You can call them on 0808 800 2222.

If you’re a missing parent

If you go missing with your child and we’re concerned for your child’s safety, under the child protection procedures, we’ll receive notification from the police so that we can help to find you.

We're here to help

South Yorkshire Police

If there's an emergency and you need help right away, call 999 to speak to the police, for example if someone's life's at risk or you're witnessing a crime happening.

If your call's not an emergency, call the police on (01442) 202020.

Our Emergency Duty Team

Call: 0844 984 1800

Email: if you need to use a secure email.