New report: Transitional safeguarding and missing young people

Today, Missing People, alongside the NWG and the National Police Chief’s Council, have published a report.

This report concerns the response for young people who are regularly going missing as they approach and pass the age of 18.

What is the report about?

Going missing is often a warning sign that something is wrong in a child’s life. They may be:

  • Experiencing harm at home.
  • Struggling with their mental health.
  • A victim of grooming and exploitation.
  • Facing a range of other risks.

These harms do not go away when a child reaches adulthood as many will continue to go missing. In spite of this, much of the support they receive from professionals drops away.

We have surveyed professionals across the country to explore what is currently happening for young people as they transition to adulthood.

Recommendations from the report

This report sets out some recommendations for services to consider as a first step. These include:

  • Local authorities should ensure children and adult services are working together as well as having the capacity to attend meetings for young people that fall within the other’s domain when beneficial.
  • Local authorities should consider introducing Transitional Safeguarding Teams to provide specialist support to 16-25 year olds experiencing risk or harm. A young person who is identified as high-risk while missing or going missing repeatedly should then involve the team.
  • Local partnerships should develop multi-agency protocols for the response to missing adults to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear. Then this should be supported by groups who can ensure information sharing, shared responsibility and accountability, and problem solving any issues between agencies.
  • Commissioners across the safeguarding sector should have flexibility in their commissioning expectations for services. This therefore allows them to provide support to young people as they pass the age of 18 if beneficial.
  • Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and HMICFRS should explore working together to ensure that transitional safeguarding is included in inspection frameworks.


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