Responding to Youth Missing From Foster Care - Colorado

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Protocols for Reporting Children Missing From Care to Law Enforcement

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-1-115.3; Code of Regs. Tit. 12, § 2509-4 (7.303.4)

If a child or youth for whom the Department of Human Services or a county department has legal custody pursuant to the provisions of this title is determined by the agency to be missing, the agency having legal custody of the child or youth shall report the disappearance immediately, and in no case later than 24 hours after learning of the disappearance, to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and to law enforcement. Law enforcement authorities shall notify the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for transmission to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for entry into the National Crime Information Center database. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the reporting requirements set forth for foster parents and out-of-home placement facilities in § 19-2-920 shall still apply.

In regulation: If a child who is in the legal custody of the county department is missing, then the county department shall report immediately and no later than 24 hours from when the county department receives notification that the child is missing to the local law enforcement agency and to NCMEC.

Protocols for Locating Children Missing From Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-2-920; Code of Regs. Tit. 12, § 2509-4 (7.303.4)

When a juvenile who is sentenced to detention, committed to the department of human services, or otherwise sentenced or placed in out-of-home placement, pursuant to § 19-3-907, runs away from the facility or home in which the juvenile is placed, the person in charge of the facility or the foster parent shall notify the court and the local law enforcement agency as soon as possible after discovering the juvenile has run away from the facility or home.

In regulation: If a child who is in the legal custody of the county department is missing, the county department shall make reasonable efforts to locate a child who is missing and document those efforts a minimum of once per month in the State automated case management system.

Determining the Factors That Led to a Child's Absence From Care

Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 12, § 2509-4 (7.303.4)

Upon the return of the child, the county department shall make reasonable efforts to determine the primary factors that contributed to the child being missing and document those efforts in the State automated case management system.

Determining the Suitability of Current and Subsequent Placements

Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 12, § 2509-4 (7.303.4)

Upon the return of the child, the county department shall make reasonable efforts to respond to the factors that contributed to the child being missing in current and subsequent services.

Assessing the Child's Experiences While Absent From Care

Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 12, § 2509-4 (7.303.4)

Upon the return of the child, the county department shall make reasonable efforts to determine the child's experiences while missing, including conducting a sex trafficking screen to determine if the child is a possible sex trafficking victim.

Timeframes for Closing a Child's Placement After Running Away

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.