Toolkit: Safe and sound in Queensland – enhancing safety for young people who go missing from care

Safe & Sound in Queensland: Enhancing safety for young people who go missing from care is a practical toolkit intended to provide effective, professional support for children who go missing from their home or place of care. It suggests strategies and practical steps that workers may take to:

  • Engage and communicate effectively with children to prevent missing episodes.
  • Better understand the push and pull factors associated with missing episodes.
  • Assess contributing risk factors and be able to respond appropriately if a child leaves their home or place of care.
  • Support conversations with a child, following an episode of missing.
  • Consider appropriate, responses to various factors within the home or place of care to help reduce risk.
  • Consider effective approaches for reporting concerns to statutory agencies, such as the Police and Child Safety Services.

This toolkit contains critical information to help frontline support workers involved in the care of a child in out-of-home care to navigate situations where those children are at risk of and/or going missing from their home/place of care. It is acknowledged that most agencies will have practice frameworks in place to inform their work with children and young people. On this basis, the toolkit is intended to enhance and strengthen existing practice and policy, complementing the way agencies currently respond. This will ensure that families, friends, and communities can be confident that when vulnerable children go missing from out-of-home care in Queensland, the agencies responsible for responding, do so consistent with international best practice.

The toolkit is not intended to be just about completing check lists or documents. It is also about walking alongside children to change and shape their experiences before, during and after they return from being missing.

This resource draws on current best practice relating to children who go missing from out-of-home care arrangements. It has been developed with direct input from children and frontline professionals working across a number of domains, including out-of-home care, therapeutic intervention, youth justice, child safety, law enforcement and education.

Each section of the resource is intended to be an essential component of the toolkit. There are three colour coded components – ‘Before’, ‘During’, ‘After’. A ‘Pocket Guide’ can also be found within the ‘Before’ component. Accompanying each component are a range of pull-out templates, activities, and checklists to help guide the user.

How do I access the Safe & Sound toolkit?

The Safe and Sound in Queensland Toolkit is available here. The associated pocket guide is available here.