Journal Article

Going missing from residential and foster care: linking biographies and contexts

N Biehal and J Wade

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 30, issue 2, pages 211-225
Published in print April 2000 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2000 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Going missing from residential and foster care: linking biographies and contexts

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The findings discussed here derive from a Department of Health funded study into young people who go missing from foster and residential placements. We found going missing to be a widespread phenomenon especially, though not exclusively, in residential care. The risks encountered by young people included involvement in offending, substance misuse, rough sleeping and sexual exploitation, including prostitution. However, patterns of going missing were complex. Different patterns were identified for those who went missing to be with friends or family as compared to those who ran away, the latter group tending to place themselves at greater risk. Those who went missing repeatedly were at risk of increasing detachment from substitute carers and school and were more likely to have offended in the past. However, these longer-term risks differed significantly from those who had first gone missing from home when compared to those first missing from substitute care. The complex motivations that prompt young people to go missing are also discussed and the balance between individual and environmental factors in explaining this phenomenon is explored.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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