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28th Feb 2023

Nearly 300 children went missing from Irish State care last year

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The figure has decreased since 2021.

Almost 300 children were reported missing from Irish State care last year with the majority being teenage boys, a new report says.

Newstalk has revealed through a Freedom of Information request that there were 319 cases reported of missing people from State care, with 294 of these being children.

Each of the child cases were aged between 10 and 17 years of age.

The figure is a slight decrease from 2021 when the State saw 295 children reported missing and in 2020 when there were 319 missing person cases from the child and family agency Tusla.

Gardaí have been notified of each case and Tusla has said that those who have gone missing from State care are all classed as very vulnerable individuals.

Chief Executive of the ISPCC, John Chruch, has said that the children were “most at risk” and are of greater concern to the public.

He added that it was the period between school and returning home to State care as being the possible window for when these children would go missing.

Tusla has noted that the missing cases include any person who has been missing for anything over 20 minutes.

In certain cases, many of the children who are living in State care and have gone missing have returned not long after a file was submitted to the Gardaí.

Tusla has also noted that all of the children involved in these missing cases last year were found within a 24 hour period.