Our manifesto outlines “22 ways to build resilience and aspiration in people and communities” across five key areas. Download your copy.

Dismiss close

Child exploitation

Missing services: product card

Young woman sitting on the floor in an empty room, looking thoughtful.

“Catch22 has been the only consistent thing in my life for the past year. [My Catch22 support worker] has been the only professional who has stuck by me when all my other social workers left me. You’ve been my missing worker, therapist and social worker all in one..”

– Young person, Merseyside

What is the need?

Of the 320,000 reported missing incidents every year in the UK, 190,000 are reports for missing children. Almost 70,000 children go missing each year.

Children go missing for a range of reasons, including:

  • poor mental health,
  • violence, abuse or neglect within the home, or
  • child exploitation.

Whilst missing, they are especially vulnerable as they often lack the resources, agency and knowledge to stay safe.

Catch22’s own data shows that almost half of children referred for child exploitation support in our services had been reported missing at some point. This is why we advocate the co-commissioning of Missing and Child Exploitation services wherever possible.

“Intel received into the office today, submitted. Not sure who this worker’s manager is, but to obtain this level of information and detail, she is clearly very skilled in her role and has earned some great trust! This is fantastic for us. This detail of information really does give us some good stuff to work with.”

– Staffordshire Police

Our approach

Catch22 works with a range of partner agencies including Police and children’s social care to deliver return home interviews (RHIs) after a child has been reported missing from home, care or supported accommodation to understand why they went missing, reduce the risk of exploitation and prevent further missing episodes. RHI delivery is supported by the provision of specialist, preventative interventions, awareness raising and training for our partners across social care, the NHS, the Police and education.

“The return home interview that was completed for the young person was way more comprehensive than the one I had initially completed. It really highlighted the risk that the young person is currently at, so thank you.”

– Social worker   

Our model of delivery

We provide responsive, flexible services tailored to the needs of each child or young person and we support the wider family to strengthen ‘pull’ factors within the home. We use a relational model of support so a child will see the same worker wherever possible to build trusting relationships. Children are offered some choice and control over where and when their conversation with the Missing worker takes place, and workers use child-led, inclusive and trauma-informed approaches.

Catch22 has services co-located within Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs or with CE teams to respond quickly to children’s needs and work in a truly integrated way.

“I’m amazed at how the support worker managed to engage my daughter to talk for as long as she did. Normally she would have walked out after 5 minutes or refused to come downstairs! She has even agreed to do some direct work!”

– Parent of a missing child, Stoke-on-Trent

Proven results

Catch22 has delivered Missing services for over 10 years across the country – from Merton to Merseyside.

In our Stoke-On-Trent and Staffordshire Missing service (from April 2022 – March 2023), we saw:

  • Attempted offer of return home interview (RHI) in 100% of missing incidents.
  • Successful offer for 94% incidents.
  • 83% of RHIs offered successfully completed.
  • 79% of RHIs offered completed within 72 Hours, as recommended by Statutory Guidance (compared with 42% of a 2022 research sample).
  • 93% of children going missing repeatedly received a RHI.
  • Repeat missing incidents 13% below the national average at year end 2022/23.
  • 84% of children who went missing once and received a RHI from Catch22 did not go missing again.

“I have been blown away time and time again by the tenacity, compassion and specialist knowledge you and your staff team provide to our families and children.”

– Local Authority Commissioner

In our Merseyside Missing service between April 2023 and March 2024, the service offered 2,098 Return Home Interviews in response to 2,114 missing incidents. 85% of all young people engaged in a Return Home Interview with Catch22 and were then contacted a further 72 hours later to check they were OK and identify whether there was anything more the service could do to support them and prevent further missing episodes.

72% young people receiving a follow-up call were not reported missing again. 

Our impact:

  • 98.5% service user satisfaction.
  • 97.6% of young people felt safer as a result of contact with Catch22.
  • 92.7% of young people had improved mental health as a result of contact with Catch22.
  • 97.4% of young people felt more able to make positive choices as a result of contact with Catch22.
  • 96.6% of young people achieved positive outcomes after contact with Catch22.

“Catch22 has literally changed my life.”

– Young person