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He said: "It's far too easy to open residential care homes.

Other Greater Manchester councils have similar stories to tell, on a smaller scale.

will have a duty to provide more local accommodation.

The council refuses to give exact figures, but it is known there were more than 2,000 reports of missing children last year.

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with some homes charging more than 4,000 a week.

In all, 5,598 of the 11,819 reports of missing children last year related to youngsters living in care. Care homes have a duty to inform the police as soon as a child goes missing. And in the majority of cases children turn up within 24 hours.

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Nike Tech Fleece Pants Green

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The private sector has leapt in to fill the gap but while social services have a responsibility to find appropriate care, there are currently few restrictions on where in the country children are placed.

Council leader Dave Goddard admits it is a huge problem.

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Manchester had 1,529 missing from care cases, Wigan 360, Bolton 205, Trafford 76 and Oldham 54. Tameside council said there were no incidents, while Rochdale refused to provide figures.

improve. She said vulnerable children had always been moved away from home by councils, and had always run away again but these days professionals were listening.

Nevertheless, last year all Greater Manchester's councils moved some youngsters out of the area and 375, or roughly one in 10, were sent more than 20 miles away.

"I'm getting children from Ipswich, I'm getting them from Southampton and so on the amount of police time spent chasing kids that aren't even from Stockport is huge."

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Carol Iddon, strategic director for the north at Action for Children formerly National Children's Homes said she was optimistic things would

Salford Council leader John Merry speaks below about how Salford Council is dealing with the problem of missing children .

A council which arranges a placement with a private home remains responsible for the child's welfare. But it is the local police force that picks up the bill if a youngster goes missing.

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"We have a lot of them in Stockport because we have all these huge houses.

Many are believed to be going back to their home towns sometimes hundreds of miles away.

And from April this year, councils Nike Sportswear Windrunner Men's

As well as a lack of local care, cost is also an increasing issue as swingeing government cuts loom large in the minds of council bosses.

Most of those were not originally from Stockport.

But council chiefs admit they also have a 'massive' problem with children from other boroughs running away to visit friends or family.

We have uncovered a startling picture of vulnerable youngsters repeatedly disappearing, potentially risking their lives time and time again.

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´╗┐Shocking toll of the teenage runaways

In Stockport, where there are 43 private children's homes Nike Tech Fleece Pants Green the second highest number in the country the issue looms large.

In Bury last year there were 51 reports of youngsters running away from care Nike Mens T Shirts

but only two of the children were actually from Bury.

More children disappear from those homes than the rest of Greater Manchester put together.

In recent years there has been a drive to place children nearer their families.

In Salford, where there were 601 cases of missing children, social workers, police, the NHS and charity workers are now taking urgent steps to tackle the problem.

Council leader John Merry said: "This is not a problem that is unique to Salford, but we want to take urgent action."

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The aim is to help the 'displaced' children grow roots in their new communities to stop them feeling the need to run away. Every month the different agencies meet to discuss the issue in a project to be extended across Greater Manchester.

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