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  1. ITV Report

ITV News exclusive: Extent of runaway children in care

ITV News learns more than 5,000 children in care in England ran away last year - five times more than Government estimates. Photo: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

ITV News has exclusively learned that over 5000 children in care in England ran away for more than 24 hours last year - that is five times more than the Government estimates. Many have been placed in homes 200 miles from their families.

Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall reports:

According to Department for Education figures, in 2011 there were 65,000 children in care in England and of those 930 went missing for 24 hours or more.

But figures seen by ITV News, based on police data, suggest that figure could be as many as 5,000.

Detective Inspector Philip Shakesheff, of West Mercia Police, says he is "shocked and alarmed" by the lack of children in care who have been recorded as missing by the Department for Education.