Children’s safety is our highest priority, both on and off the premises. Every attempt is made, through the implementation of our outings procedure and our exit/entrance procedure, to ensure the security of children is maintained at all times. In the unlikely event of a child going missing, our missing child procedure is followed.
Child going missing on the premises
- As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing, the member of staff alerts our setting manager and in their absence the settings Assistant manager.
- The register is checked to make sure no other child has also gone astray.
- Our manager/assistant manager will carry out a thorough search of the building and garden.
- Doors and gates are checked to see if there has been a breach of security whereby a child could wander out.
- If the child is not found, our manager/ assistant manager calls the police immediately and reports the child as missing. If it is suspected that the child may have been abducted, the police are informed of this.
- The parent(s) are then called and informed.
- A recent photo and a note of what the child is wearing is given to the police.
- Our manager/ assistant manager talks to our staff to find out when and where the child was last seen and records this.
- Our manager/ assistant manager contacts our chair, or another director and reports the incident. Our chair or director comes to the provision immediately to carry out an investigation, with our management team where appropriate.
Child going missing from afterschool club
- Staff collect children in years f, 1, 2, 3 and 4 directly from school. They check with the teacher if a child is not present that we are expecting to attend afterschool club. Years 5 and 6 are expected to come straight to after school club. If we are expecting a child to attend and they do not, and we cannot check with their teacher/ a member of school staff or they are unsure if they have been collected or at a school club, we call parents to check the child has been collected by an authorised adult.
- If we cannot immediately contact either parent, messages are left asking them to contact us as soon as possible. A member of staff continues to keep trying to call parents and school are informed a child may be missing.
- A member of staff checks the child’s classroom and does a quick search of the school (often school support with this).
- If the child is not found and we cannot contact parents, or parents do not know where their child is, we call the police and report the child as missing. If it is suspected that the child may have been abducted, the police are informed of this.
- The parent(s) are then called and informed that a police report has been made. School are also informed.
- If we have a recent photo this is given to the police, along with details of what the child was wearing.
- Our manager/deputy contacts our chair, or another director and reports the incident. Our chair or director comes to the provision immediately to carry out an investigation, with our management team where appropriate.
Child going missing on an outing
This describes what to do when our staff have taken a small group on an outing, leaving our manager and/or other staff back in our setting premises. If our manager has accompanied children on the outing, the procedures are adjusted accordingly.
- As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing, the staff members carry out a headcount to ensure that no other child has gone astray.
- One staff member searches the immediate vicinity, but does not search beyond that.
- Our senior staff member on the outing contacts the manager/deputy and they call the police and report that child as missing.
- Our manager contacts the parent(s).
- Our staff take the remaining children back to the setting as soon as possible.
- According to the advice of the police, a senior member of staff, or our manager where applicable, should remain at the site where the child went missing and wait for the police to arrive.
- A recent photo and a description of what the child is wearing is given to the police.
- Our manager contacts our chair or director and reports the incident. Our chair or director comes to our premises immediately to carry out an investigation, with our management team (where appropriate).
- Our staff keep calm and do not let the other children become anxious or worried.
- Ofsted are informed as soon as possible and kept up-to-date with the investigation.
- Our chair/director carries out a full investigation, taking written statements from all our staff and volunteers who were present.
- Our manager, together with a representative of our management team speaks with the parent(s) and explains the process of the investigation.
- The parent(s) may also raise a complaint with us or Ofsted.
- Each member of staff present writes an incident report detailing:
- The date and time of the incident.
- Where the child went missing from e.g. the setting or an outing venue.
- Which staff/children were in the premises/on the outing and the name of the staff member who was designated as responsible for the missing child.
- When the child was last seen in the premises/or on the outing, including the time it is estimated that the child went missing.
- What has taken place in the premises or on the outing since the child went missing.
- The report is counter-signed by the senior member of staff and the date and time added.
- A conclusion is drawn as to how the breach of security happened.
- If the incident warrants a police investigation, all our staff co-operate fully. In this case, the police will handle all aspects of the investigation, including interviewing staff and parents. Children’s social care may be involved if it seems likely that there is a child protection issue to address.
- In the event of disciplinary action needing to be taken, Ofsted are advised.
- The insurance provider is informed.
- Missing child incidents are very worrying for all concerned. Part of managing the incident is to try to keep everyone as calm as possible.
- Our staff will feel worried about the child. They may blame themselves and their feelings of anxiety and distress will rise as the length of time the child is missing increases.
- They may be the understandable target of parental anger and they may be afraid. Our manager ensures that any staff under investigation are not only fairly treated, but receive support while feeling vulnerable.
- The parents will feel angry, and fraught. They may want to blame our staff and may single out one staff member over others; they may direct their anger at our manager. When dealing with a distraught and angry parent, there should always be two members of staff one of whom is our manager and the other should be another representative of the management committee. No matter how understandable the parent’s anger may be, aggression or threats against our staff are not tolerated, and the police should be called.
- The other children are also sensitive to what is going on around them. They too may be worried. Our remaining staff caring for them need to be focused on their needs and must not discuss the incident in front of them. They should answer children’s questions honestly, but also reassure them.
- In accordance with the severity of the final outcome, our staff may need counselling and support. If a child is not found, or is injured, or worse, this will be a very difficult time. Our directors will use their discretion to decide what action to take.
- Our staff must not discuss any missing child incident with the press without taking advice.