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Friday, 20 July 2012

Cheshire councils combine for missing children’s service


A local missing children and young people’s service and helpline has been set up to give free confidential advice to youngsters.

Catch22, commissioned by Halton Borough Council in partnership with local authorities in Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington, launched the service this week.

As well as providing a help, called ‘Missing From Home’, it will provide targeted support to enable youngsters to develop strategies to keep themselves safe.

The Missing People Charity support the phone line and it is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

It is staffed by experienced ‘Missing From Home’ case workers and fully trained volunteers.

The aim of the local service is to directly link children and young people to a local support, if they want it.
Councillor Hilda Gaddum, Cabinet member in charge of children and family services, said: “I welcome this new service, which will help engage with children who are missing from home, often placing themselves at high risk. The reasons for their absence can be varied and complex.

“Now staff are working directly with the children, and their families, or carers, to diminish that risk and to reduce the number of children and young people that are reported missing each year.”

Case workers for the service are now in place in all the areas to work directly with children and young people. The helpline is just part of this service.
Kathy Boardman, Catch22’s Missing From Home coordinator, said: “Children and young people often find themselves in situations that they find it difficult to get out of.

“Sometimes going home seems like the hardest thing to do – and the reasons for this can be incredibly complicated.

“Having some emotional support, a listening ear, an adult that has the time to listen and hear what the problems are, can help a child stay safer, immediately and in the longer term.”
The helpline number is: 0808 168 9698.
For more information about the service, or volunteering, contact Kathy Boardman on 07889 128221.

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