Missing Child Policy

Image by Clarissa Watson

I safely supervise all children whilst in my care, whether in setting or whilst on an outing. 

 

I teach all children in my care about safety when we are out and about.

A full set of all children's  details with emergency contact numbers for parents or other contacts are available to hand at all hours of the setting ‘day’, whether at the setting or on an outing.

If a child goes missing whilst in the setting, a full search of every area of the indoors and outdoors will be made.  The security of the outdoor boundaries will be established first.  If external gates and doors are found to be locked and secure and it is reasonable to establish the child could not have left the confines of the setting, the search will then turn to the indoor and outdoor areas.  If after 5 minutes searching (discretionary down to the time taken to thoroughly search) the child has not been found, the parents will be contacted.  The Police will be contacted.  If the external boundaries of the setting have been found to be secure, it may be appropriate to get the other children in the setting to help look for their friend.

If a child goes missing whilst on an outing, I will first ensure all other children in my care are with me.  I will not let them look independently.  I will leave personal belongings, if it would be time wasting to collect them up.  On each outing a ‘safety’ place will be established with the children - a place they should go if for any reason they are separated visually from me in a crowd.  This would normally be a staff member, play group worker, refreshment point, gift shop or pay kiosk.  I will check the ‘safety’ place first.  The staff will be notified immediately in venues, so a search can be implemented.  Depending on the size of search area, parents will be notified within 10-20 minutes.  Police will be notified.

If a child goes missing on an outing where there are no adults to turn to, I will still give them a ‘safety’ point.  This may sometimes be difficult if for instance I am in the woods where all the trees and paths look the same.  A child will be told that if they cannot find the ‘safety’ point, they should stop, call, wait.

                  Stop                          do not keep walking – potentially getting further away.

                  Call                           keep calling out “I’m here Denise”.

                  Wait                          do not move until I come and get them.

Following the same procedure of collecting all other children together and taking them with me, I will go to the ‘safety’ point, listening out all the time, and being vigilant.  There may be a dropped glove or toy that would indicate the child had been that way.  If the child is not at the ‘safety’ point I will expand the search area.  After 10 – 20 minutes I will contact the parents and the Police, maintaining a search whilst waiting for them to arrive, but at the same time keeping in touch so they know exactly where to meet me.

All details of the child’s name, the place and time they went missing; what actions I took to look for them; the time at which outside help was called in; the time at which the parents and Police were contacted and the final outcome will be recorded. 

Ofsted will be notified as soon as possible or at least within 14 days of the incident occurring.