Responding to Youth Missing From Foster Care - Kansas

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Protocols for Reporting Children Missing From Care to Law Enforcement

Citation: PPS Pol. & Proc. Man. § 5245

In policy: When a child in the custody of the Department for Children and Families (DCF) is missing from an out-of-home placement due to being a runaway, being abducted, or missing for an unknown reason, the child welfare case management provider (CWCMP) shall take the following actions:

  • Report the missing child to the Special Response Team in the Prevention and Protection Services (PPS) Administration within 2 hours by sending an email to DCF.AWOLyouth@ks.gov and include all information available about the child and the circumstances
  • Report immediately, and in no case later than 2 hours, after receiving information on missing or abducted children or youth, to law enforcement authorities for law enforcement to enter into the National Crime Information Center database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Report immediately, and in no case later than 24 hours after receiving information on the missing or abducted child to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
  • Within 24 hours, provide the law enforcement agency, PPS Special Response Team, and NCMEC with the following information (as available):
    • A current photo/physical description of the child, including a description of the clothing worn at the time the child was last seen, hair and eye color, height, weight, complexion, eyeglasses or contact lenses, braces, body piercings, tattoos and/or other unique physical characteristics
    • Contact information of the child, including information about cell phone numbers, email addresses, social networking contacts, aliases, and nicknames
    • Suggested location, people, or direction where the child could be located, including parents and relatives
    • Medical/physical/emotional/mental health condition/diagnosis/disabilities and medication information that may impact the child€™s decision-making process and health, including any past suicide attempts and/or any other endangerments or risks, such as gang activity, online enticement, or commercial/sexual exploitation
    • Possessions the child may have with them

Protocols for Locating Children Missing From Care

Citation: PPS Pol. & Proc. Man. § 5245

When the child is missing, DCF/CWCMP staff shall do the following:

  • Contact the child's parent(s)/primary caregiver(s), if parental rights are still intact and whereabouts are known, to make them aware of the child missing from placement, elicit their assistance in locating the child, provide frequent updates on search efforts, and consult regarding whether to issue a press release
  • Notify the court of the child's missing status
  • Contact the child's school to make them aware of the child's missing status and ask for their assistance in locating the child
  • Contact friends, other relatives of the child, and others who may have information (e.g., teachers, counselors, coaches, court-appointed special advocates), through all available means, including social media, to obtain information from them and also gain their assistance in locating the child
  • Provide emotional support to the parents/primary caregivers, siblings, and placement provider in dealing with the child's missing status

Ongoing efforts to locate a missing child include the following:

  • For a child who has been missing for 1 to 5 days, at least daily efforts shall be made to complete the following actions to obtain updated information:
    • Contact parents/primary caregivers, siblings, and the placement provider
    • Follow up with law enforcement to check on the status of the investigation
    • Check social media (age appropriate) for any updates
    • Contact friends and other relatives of the child, through all available means, including social media (age appropriate), to obtain updated information and assistance in locating the child
    • Contact the child's school to check attendance and determine if any staff have information or knowledge of the child's whereabouts
    • Attempt to contact the missing child via mobile devices
    • Update the PPS Special Response Team and the assigned foster care liaison on all the efforts made to locate the youth and any status changes weekly
  • For a child who has been missing over 5 days, at least weekly efforts shall be made to complete the following actions to obtain updated information:
    • Contact parents/primary caregivers, siblings, and the placement provider
    • Follow up with law enforcement to check on the status of the investigation
    • Check social media, including post(s) with NCMEC, for any updates
    • Contact friends and other relatives of the child, through all available means including social media, to obtain updated information and assistance in locating the child
    • Contact the child's school to check attendance and determine if any staff have information or knowledge of the child's whereabouts
    • Attempt to contact the missing child via mobile devices

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

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

Determining the Suitability of Current and Subsequent Placements

Citation: PPS Pol. & Proc. Man. § 5245

When the child returns, DCF/CWCMP staff will reassess the child's placement, treatment, and permanency plans and make changes as appropriate.

Assessing the Child's Experiences While Absent From Care

Citation: PPS Pol. & Proc. Man. § 5245

When the child returns, DCF/CWCMP staff will do the following:

  • Reassess the child's safety, permanency, and well-being, including whether they were a victim of sex trafficking and whether they engaged in any other self-harming behaviors
  • Notify law enforcement immediately, no later than 2 hours after the child returns or is located
  • Notify parents, the placement, school, courts, the DCF foster care liaison, and the PPS Special Response Team of child's return as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours from learning of child's return
  • Interview the child to gather details about where they were, who was with them, why they left, how they left, etc.
  • Develop and monitor a safety plan with the placement provider, child, and birth parents to reduce the risk of future incidents

Timeframes for Closing a Child's Placement After Running Away

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