Juvenile Runaways

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Juvenile Runaways

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Police: Juvenile Runaways

Running away can be a frightening experience — for both the child and the parents. Your child becomes vulnerable as soon as he or she leaves home — potentially falling victim to drugs, drinking, crime, sexual exploitation, child pornography, or child prostitution. In the face of this, many parents may feel guilty or depressed...or even paralyzed by fear.
It is important for parents to remain calm and rational when they discover that their child has run away. Don't panic or lose sight of the immediate task at hand — to locate the runaway and return him or her safely home.

Action

The first 48 hours following the runaway are the most important in locating the child. Many runaway children return home during this 48-hour period. To help locate your runaway child, immediately follow these steps.

Check with your child's friends, school, neighbors, relatives, or anyone else who may know of your child's whereabouts. Ask them to notify you if they hear from the child. Report the runaway to the local police or sheriff's department. Have an officer respond to your home to take the report.

Write down the officer's name, badge number, telephone number, and the police report number. Find out from the officer who will follow up the initial investigation. Remember: Keep a notebook and record all information on the investigation.

Provide the police with a recent photo of your child.

Make sure your police department enters your child's name and description into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer. This information will not give your child a police record, but it may aid in his or her safe return..

Call or check several local spots that your child may frequent, and check with area hospitals and treatment centers. If your child was employed, call the employer or coworkers.

If you have not done so, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

Call your local runaway hotline (if there is one) as well as the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000. Ask if your child has left a message, and leave a message for him or her. Also contact local runaway shelters and those in adjoining states. There are more than 500 runaway shelters throughout the country, and they will be able to give you assistance and advice.

Make fingerprints and dental records available to the police. This information may need to be added to the existing NCIC entry.

When Your Child Returns Home

When your child is recovered or returns home, make sure to show love and concern for his or her safety — not anger or fear. If you react angrily, your child may feel unwanted and unloved and may run away again. Make sure that your child understands that you care about what happens to him or her.

Promptly notify the police, state clearinghouse, NCMEC, the National Runaway Switchboard, or anyone else who may have assisted you.

If your child has been away for an extended period of time, a complete medical examination is indicated when he or she returns home, including tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

Most important, when your child returns, try to resolve the problems in your family that prompted your child to leave home in the first place. In general, children run away because of problems or stresses in the family or at home — such as divorce, remarriage, alcoholism, or physical or sexual abuse.

If you are unable to deal with the family problems effectively, seek the assistance of a trained counselor or professional. Parents can contact the local Department of Social Services, Family Services, or other public or private agencies that help families. Members of the clergy, school personnel, or the law-enforcement community can also direct you to available services and resources.

It may be necessary for your child to go to a temporary residence or runaway shelter while the family works toward resolving its problems. A trained counselor can help you make this decision

For further information please contact the Community Policing Department.