Missing Child Policy
Children’s safety is maintained as the highest priority at all times both on and off premises. Every attempt is made through carrying out the outings procedure and the 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.
The group has in place the following systems for the protection of the child:-
- The Gates in the garden are locked at all times.
- The front door is fitted with a keypad system which only staff and select committee are aware of the code.
- The first set of gates closest to the front door are shut during session times.
- An accurate register is kept.
- Visitors are signed in and out of the playroom.
Systems are reviewed regularly.
The group is responsible for the missing child and also for the other children in the group, whose needs cannot be neglected. All children will be gathered together and marked against the register. If necessary, the remaining children can have a story with one adult, while the rest search.
Every accessible room in the building will be checked, along with the immediate outside area. The child’s parents will be contacted and warned that the child may be attempting to get home. Parents will be advised to stay at home in case the child arrives there. If the child lives within walking distance, one adult should make the journey on foot to catch up with or intercept the child if possible. Where able they should take a mobile phone to keep in contact. If a member of staff arrives at the house without finding the child, they should make contact with the group for further instructions.
If the above steps do not locate the child, the police will be contacted.
The parents/carers of the child will be kept informed. If they do not answer the phone, a message will be left on any answering service before attempting alternative numbers. They will be made aware that the emergency services are being contacted. Parents will be asked for information of anywhere else the child may head for, e.g. another relative, local park, etc.
Following any such incident, Ofsted will be informed. A report will be written up as soon as possible after the event and a copy sent to Ofsted with an action plan. A record of events will be logged in the Incident Book.
Child going missing on an outing
This describes what to do when staff have taken a small group on an outing, leaving other staff back in the setting.
What to do when a child goes missing from a whole setting outing may be a little different, as parents often attend and are responsible for their own child.
- As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing, staff on the outing ask children to stand with their designated person and 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. The setting leader / Manager is contacted immediately and the incident is reported.
- The setting leader / Manager contacts the police and reports the child as missing.
- The setting leader /Manager contacts the parent, who makes their way to the setting or outing venue as agreed with the setting leader. The setting is advised as the best place, as by the time the parent arrives, the child may have been returned to the setting.
- Staff take the remaining children back to the setting where possible.
- In an indoor venue, the staff contact the venue’s security who will handle the search and contact the police if the child is not found.
- The setting leader / Manager contacts the chairperson and reports the incident. A full investigation will be immediately carried out.
- The setting leader, or designated staff member may be advised by the police to stay at the venue until they arrive.
- Staff keep calm and do not let the other children become anxious or worried.
- The setting leader /Manager speaks with the parent(s).
- Management will carry out a full investigation taking written statements from all the staff in the room or who were on the outing.
- Staff members write an incident report detailing:
- What staff/children were in the group/outing and the name of the staff
designated responsible for the missing child.
- When the child was last seen in the group/outing.
- What has taken place in the group or outing since the child went
-The time it is estimated that the child went missing.
- A conclusion is drawn as to how the breach of security happened.
- If the incident warrants a police investigation, all staff co-operate fully. In this case, the police will handle all aspects of the investigation, including interviewing staff. Children’s Social Care may be involved if it seems likely that there is a child protection issue to address.
- The incident is reported under RIDDOR arrangements (see the Reporting of Accidents and Incidents policy); the local authority Health and Safety Officer may want to investigate and will decide if there is a case for prosecution.
- In the event of disciplinary action needing to be taken, Ofsted is informed.
- The insurance provider is informed.