16,000 children go missing from care each year in the UK. Many of them are missing yet not missed. Many disappear. They are the homeless body in the shop doorway that you walk past. They are the young offender finding a warm bed in prison. They are the lost child passed from carer to carer that nobody notices. They are the brother or sister separated from their families because the care system didn’t have enough space.

Does the care system provide a means for us to satisfy our conscience? Don’t worry, someone else is looking after them. Don’t ask questions. Don’t make a fuss. Don’t speak up on their behalf. Where does this lead us? To another scandal of a child who fell between the gaps in the system. Another promise of an enquiry, an overhaul of the system. The professionals who work in the care system are stretched beyond their capability. Collectively, we can blame the care system instead of making the effort to care.

As part of the Children of a Revolution exhibition, Peter Freeth’s photographic collection ‘Missing Child’ captures the empty spaces left by children in the care system, and in our wider society, inviting the viewer to step into those empty spaces and begin to imagine the experiences of the thousands of missing children who are missed by no-one. Perhaps, by putting themselves into these empty spaces, the viewer might understand what it means to be uncared for, to be lost, to be missed.

Missing Child is part of the Children of a Revolution exhibition which can be seen in Wolverhampton starting 28th March 2022. The images can be seen here.