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Parents Protocol for Children Staying Out

Checkpoint Torbay

Parents and carers, please find below a guide for you to use in respect of your child/young person spending time away from home, staying out overnight and when to report as missing to the Police.


  1. Try and keep a list of names, addresses and phone numbers of who your child is staying with. This will enable you to give details to the police if needed.
  2. Young person to be given a set time (curfew) to come home, this time should be realistic and age appropriate. Think about different times for school nights and weekends.
  3. While the young person is out of the home for a long period of time e.g. 3-4+ hours, depending on their age, they should ‘check-in’ with parents/carer by text or phone call.
  4. Discuss in advance ‘the rules’, what will happen if the young person does not do the above, i.e. the consequence for coming home late. How much leeway they will have before you enforce the consequence and/or report as a missing person to the police.  
If young person DOES NOT return home by the set time:

Parent should attempt to contact young person, if possible get verification of where they are and what time they estimate they will be home, communicate what you are expecting of them. If they are asking to stay out, find out who they are staying with and where do they live? This should be done by speaking to an appropriate adult at the address.

Please consider:

  • Is the young person safe at this address?
  • Is there an appropriate adult at the address? Who is living there or staying there at the moment? Who’s supervising…parents, grandparents, or teenage babysitter?
  • How long have you or your child known of the family?
  • Has your child spent time in their home previously?
  • What other young people may be spending the night there as well?
  • What activities are planned?  Are the adults also having a party or get-together with their friends that night?
  • Will there be a lot of other adults there, possibly drinking alcohol?

Steps to take BEFORE you report your child/young person as missing:

  • You should attempt to contact your child either by text messages, email, messaging via social media and phone calls.
  • If unsuccessful, try any friends or parents of friends that you have contact info for.
  • Where possible you should make attempts to locate by checking the route they would have used to get home and going to known places your child frequents.
  • If you still have not been able to speak to or sight your child, parent/carer should contact local police by phoning 101 and report them as missing. This should be done every time the young person is considered to be missing including if they do not attend school and you don’t know where they are or when they leave the house without your permission.