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Two teens in care who disappeared last year are still missing

Both teens had arrived in Ireland unaccompanied.

Image: teenager image via Shutterstock

TWO YOUNG PEOPLE in State care who went missing last year still have not been found, the Child and Family Agency has confirmed.

Tusla told TheJournal.ie that in total, three separated children – young people who arrive in Ireland from another country unaccompanied – were reported missing last year. One returned and remains in the care of Tusla but the other two were not found.

The agency said overall figures for children in care who went missing in 2014 are not available because this is dealt with at a local level.

Both of the young people were aged 17 when they disappeared with one just two months away from turning 18. The other went missing before an age assessment could be completed by the separated children team, on the same day they were referred to the agency, though they were reported to be 17.

In 2013, four separated children were reported missing to gardaí. This is a significant decrease compared to five years ago when up to 48 young people living in hostels for separated children were reported missing. The high numbers led to an overhaul of the whole system and children who arrive in Ireland unaccompanied are now placed with foster carers.

“Due to the vulnerable nature of children in care”, Tusla said it prepares an absence management plan for each child who goes missing and works closely with gardaí to respond to unauthorised absences.

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The length of time a child has been absent does not determine whether they are considered missing, rather it is a combination of the time period and all over circumstances of the case, the agency said.

“Once a child has been reported missing, the Gardaí have primary responsibility for investigating,” the agency said. “Throughout the garda investigation, the social worker and carers maintain regular contact with the gardaí, pass on all relevant information and assist in the safe return of the child.”

Read: Why did all these Chinese ‘teens’ go missing in Ireland?>

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