Domestic abuse and conflict continue to rank as the number one reason why children are running away from home and subsequently being reported missing.

That’s according to Acting Deputy Registrar at the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, CPFSA, Lesia Bhagwandat Vassell.

Tauna Thomas reports:

[As the nation observes International Missing Children’s Day, the Acting Deputy Registrar at the CPFSA, is highlighting abuse as one of the common reasons leading to children running away from home.

Also high on the list is peer pressure.

The Acting Deputy Registrar says this has been a trend over the years.

In the statistics for January to December, 2022, Mrs. Vassell says over 900 children were reported missing.

She says there was a decline during the COVID years, coming from as high as 1500 reported cases before the pandemic.

However, Mrs. Vassell says the current numbers are still worrying.

She singled out children between the ages of zero and 11 years old, noting that 46 of them went missing last year.

Ten of them still have not been found.

The overall return rate as of February this year stands at nearly 69 percent.

The Acting CPFSA Deputy Registrar is urging parents to closely monitor their children.

She’s also appealing to Jamaicans to inquire and make reports when they see children on their own or strange youngsters in their community.