Missing Child Policy

Cuan Bhríde Childcare Centre

Missing Child Policy


The Missing Child Policy is to minimise the likelihood of children going missing while in the care of Cuan Bhríde Childcare Centre and to provide the correct procedure to follow should that happen. Although this rarely happens, complacency is a hazard we must avoid at all costs. All children attending Cuan Bhríde Childcare Centre are of equal importance and are cared for equally. Staff are deployed, and the building is used in such a way as to minimise the chance of children removing themselves from the main group without being noticed, whilst allowing them a free choice of activities. In this way staff can be made immediately aware of a child needing help or support and react accordingly.


  1. The main door is kept secure at all times when a member of staff is not on duty at the entrance.

  2. On arrival, the parent/guardian presses the button to the child’s room and stands in front of the camera so staff may visually identify who is at the door.

  3. Staff will use the intercom to communicate to the person at the door.

  4. If the staff does not recognise the person at the door, the person will be left outside until someone may go to the front door to address the person’s concern.

  5. When they enter the room, the children and parents are welcomed into their room by staff, who marks the child’s presence on the daily register.

  6. Parents share important information to the staff about the child, i.e. how they slept the night before, if any medication was given, etc.

  7. A note is made in the staff communication book if a child is to leave early or with another adult.

  8. Staff are deployed throughout the setting during the session, ensuring that no child is left alone for any period of time without an adult being aware of their location.

  9. The outdoor area is securely fenced, and the gate secure at all times.

  10. Bathrooms are checked periodically to ensure the room is free and clear of obstacles and children are safe.

  11. Before children go to an outside area, children are to be counted and again when they are lining up to come back indoors.

  12. The rooms and outside areas in which the children play is never to be left unsupervised/out of vision of staff members.

  13. A member of staff remains on duty within the main room at all times, unless all the children and staff are in the outdoor area together.

  14. If all staff and children are outside and a child needs to come inside, a member of staff will accompany them inside.

  15. Visitors must sign in a Visitors Log to record their arrival and departure.

  16. When parents/guardians collect their child/ren, the same protocol for the door is to be followed.

  17. Children are only to leave the room with their parent/guardian.

In the event of a member of staff not being able to locate a child on the premises:

  1. The register will be called to determine which child/ren are missing.

  2. A systematic search will be carried out to see if the child can be located.

  • All toilets, cupboards, under tables, cushions, anywhere a child may hide

  • Outside areas including climbing frame

  • Check all exits for where a child may have been able to leave the premises or site

  • The centre grounds, the grass area, car park, and surrounding buildings

  1. The Manager will call the local Garda and follow instructions.

  2. The Manager will inform the parents.

  3. Check route home

  4. A full and thorough review of procedures and practices will take place to determine how the incident occurred and changes will be made if appropriate.

In the Event of a Child going missing on an outing

Parents usually attend outings and are responsible for their own child. However, the following procedures are to be followed.

  1. As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing, staff on the outing ask children to stand with their designated person/parent and carry out a headcount to ensure that no other child has gone astray.

  2. The senior staff member searches the immediate vicinity but does not search beyond that.

  3. The Manager contacts the local Garda station and reports the child as missing, then follow their instructions.

  4. The Manager contacts the parent, who makes their way to the setting or outing venue as agreed if they are not already with the group.

  5. Staff take the remaining children back to the setting if applicable.

  6. In an indoor/enclosed venue, the senior staff contact the venue’s security who will handle the search and contact the local Garda Station if the child is not found.

  7. A full and thorough review of procedures and practices will take place to determine how the incident occurred and changes will be made if appropriate.

Updated 12 September 2018