A protocol to safeguard young people in South Yorkshire, which was piloted in Rotherham in 2020 and introduced in Barnsley in early 2021, is now being rolled out in Sheffield and Doncaster.
Working alongside partner agencies, the scheme encourages carers, staff, families and friends to compile useful information that could be used in the event of a young person going missing from care.
The new approach protects vulnerable young people while respecting and understanding their need for independence.
Detective Chief Inspector Nikki Leach who is the Force Lead for Missing People explains:
“The Philomena Protocol – named after the patron saint of babies, infants and youths, was piloted in Rotherham in 2020. The success of this pilot has seen the roll out in Barnsley earlier this year and finally now the introduction in Sheffield and Doncaster.
The protocol is for young people who are at risk of going missing and it’s designed so the carer, or whoever has responsibility for that young person, has all the key information required to ensure that an investigation can begin in a swift and efficient way.
“The protocol is also based around problem solving and understanding the issues that may be the root cause of missing episodes in order to work with children’s homes and other partner agencies to create a supportive environment for young people who are struggling. Going missing is very often a symptom of a deeper problem. We want to get to a place where we listen and support, working towards long term change rather than continuing the cycle.”
If you are a care provider and would like to find out more about the Philomena Protocol please contact the missing from home officer for your area
Barnsley Timothy Fish - Tim.Fish@southyorks.pnn.police.uk