Labour MPs Jessica Morden and Gerald Jones visited the Gwent Missing Children’s team at their Hub in Mamhilad this morning to see how the unique team works together to safeguard vulnerable young people.
Also visiting was Samantha Morgan and Rhys Jones on behalf of Paul Flynn, MP for Torfaen.
The team, under the banner “Breaking the Cycle” was established in 2013 and is the only service in the UK that brings together police, social workers, health workers and education representatives to help some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities. Since the team first started other partners and volunteers have joined, including local housing associations, charities and the Welsh Government.
The service has proved undeniably successful and is being held nationally as an example of good practice. The collaboration of the five local authorities in Gwent alongside the police and the health board aims to streamline services and activities as well as share information in a meaningful way.
More recently, the team has been awarded one million pounds from the Big Lottery Fund to develop the missing children service to actively scope for indicators of child sexual exploitation (CSE), trafficking and modern day slavery. This will assist the team to reduce the number of victims and to work alongside frontline services to safeguard susceptible children.
Gwent Missing Children’s Team Manager Kerry Wade said: “The project will develop the current training around missing young people to include new emerging issues by working to develop the knowledge and skill sets of professional front line workers as well as those with corporate parenting responsibility and those in the hospitality trade.
“We are now in a unique position where we can utilise and build on the current risk assessment tools to ensure the right level of support is in place to protect our children and safeguard them against being taken by their abusers and suffering further harm.”
Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East, said: “It was great to visit the Missing Persons Hub alongside other Gwent MPs. Gwent Police and their partners have rightly earned a good reputation for their work with missing young people, and it's reassuring to know that strong multi-agency relationships are in place to protect missing individuals and support affected families.”
Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr and Rhymney added: “I was delighted to see at first hand the successful partnership working that has made this initiative such a good example of best practice. I am pleased that Caerphilly County Borough Council along with all other Gwent Authorities is working so closely with Gwent Police and other partners to support young people in our area”