Almost 30 children have gone missing from State care so far this year

Almost 30 Children Have Gone Missing From State Care So Far This Year
Repeated disappearances of children have sparked calls for better controls to ensure they are safe and protected
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Almost 30 teenagers have disappeared this year from State care, with one teenage boy, aged 14, missing for two months.

Repeated disappearances of children have sparked calls for better controls to ensure they are safe and protected.


Of the 28 children who went missing from care placements, the whereabouts of 22 are still unknown.

Of the missing, 19 are young people who were separated from families while seeking international protection.

University College Dublin (UCD) Sexual Exploitation Research Programme research associate Ruth Breslin told the Irish Examiner that children who go missing from State care are potentially being targeted for sexual exploitation in an organised manner by coordinated networks of predatory men.

A review is being undertaken by Tusla into sexual exploitation concerns in residential care following the publication of the Protecting Against Predators study last year by the researchers.


However, Ms Breslin said: “We are still having reports of children going missing, and that still remains a concern.

“What happens in the 12 or 24 hours that they are gone? Is there somebody with control over them?

“I want to see more questioning and investigating of what happens when these children go missing.”

A spokeswoman for Tusla told the Irish Examiner that the agency is finalising an internal review of reporting and process management systems and that it is working with the Garda National Protection Services Bureau.

Tusla has liaised with the UCD research team to seek assurances that the referrals mentioned in the report were all referred to Tusla and An Garda Síochána.

“We have also undertaken a number of steps to strengthen the agency’s response to, and reporting of, child sexual exploitation and trafficking concerns, including the development and implementation of further staff training and a review of current child sexual exploitation concerns in residential care,” the Tusla spokesperson said.

“The agency maintains ongoing communication with An Garda Síochána, providing them with all pertinent information to hand concerning the missing young person to assist their efforts in locating the young person.”

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