WARRINGTON Borough Council says it takes any cases of children missing from home seriously.

It comes after a report listed Warrington as the authority with the fifth highest number of missing children from care between 2013/14.

But the council stresses the results were only out of 34 areas which relaid information about missing children to the Sunday Times.

During that time 172 individual children went missing from April 2013 and March 2014.

Of those 93 children were living at home with parents and 79 were in the care of a local authority.

The ones in the care of local authorities 44 were placed in the borough by other councils and 35 were Warrington’s own children.

Five of those from Warrington were missing for more than 24 hours but all were found and brought back into care.

Fiona Waddington, assistant director children and young people’s targeted services at Warrington Borough Council, said: “Warrington Borough Council and Warrington Safeguarding Children Board take the issue of children who go missing very seriously irrespective of whether they go missing from their family home or missing from care.

"Incidents where children go missing are completely unacceptable and we have a very effective multi agency approach involving the police, health, schools and social care which follows the Pan Cheshire Joint Protocol for children who go missing, which reflects the fact that this is a high priority and has our full commitment. “ All children who do go missing or are particularly vulnerable are referred to Catch 22, which is a commissioned service and carries out the return home interviews and assess the need for direct work to reduce missing behaviour.

A council spokesman added: “A monthly multi-agency operational meeting is held to discuss any children where professionals have significant concerns in relation to the missing episodes.

“During 2013-14 there were 16 children presented to this meeting to ensure that an appropriate safeguarding plan was in place for each individual child and to identify any themes or patterns of risk within Warrington and ensure action is taken where necessary.”