Responding to Youth Missing From Foster Care - Kentucky

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Protocols for Reporting Children Missing From Care to Law Enforcement

Citation: Stds. of Prac. Man. Ch. 4, § 4.67

In policy: When a child that is committed to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is reported as missing, the social worker must do the following:

  • File a missing person report with the local law enforcement agency (city, county, or State) no later than 12 hours after receiving notification that a child has gone missing
  • Notify local law enforcement immediately, but no later 24 hours after a child has gone missing, and provide the following information:

    • Any information that could aid in locating the child
    • A complete description of the child with a recent photo (if available)
    • The child's possible whereabouts, known places or locations the child frequents, and known habits of the child
    • The child's date of birth, school, and grade
    • The circumstances surrounding the disappearance
    • Medical and/or dental providers' names
    • The complete name and description of (if applicable) the abductor, or the last person with whom the child was seen, or any vehicle involved

    Record the name and badge number of the officer who takes the report and the case number of the missing person report

  • Ask that all data regarding the missing child be entered into the Law Information Network of Kentucky, the National Crime Information Center, and the Kentucky Missing and Exploited Children Unit
  • Notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, providing the following information, to the extent available:
    • The child's full name
    • The child's date of birth
    • The date child went missing
    • City and State from where child went missing
    • Guardian information, including agency name and telephone
    • Law enforcement information, including agency name and telephone
    • A recent photo of the child (if available)
    • Physical descriptive information (e.g., height, weight, hair and eye color, clothing worn)
    • Any risks or endangerments to the child
    • Circumstances surrounding the incident
    • A description of any person who may be with the child

Protocols for Locating Children Missing From Care

Citation: Stds. of Prac. Man. Ch. 4, § 4.67

When a child committed to the cabinet is reported as missing, the social worker must provide notice to the court of the child's disappearance within 24 hours and request a pickup order. The social worker will request that the pickup order explicitly asks that the child be returned to the Department of Community Based Services or directly to a placement.

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

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

Assessing the Child's Experiences While Absent From Care

Citation: Stds. of Prac. Man. Ch. 4, § 4.67

When child that has been missing is located, the social worker must do the following:

  • Attend court proceedings regarding the child upon his/her return to placement
  • Arrange transportation for the child to their placement resource upon his or her return
  • Interview the child within 48 hours of their return to evaluate the following:
    • Factors that contributed to the child's disappearance
    • The child's current level of functioning
    • The child's experiences while missing
    • Screening for human trafficking victimization while absent from their placement
  • Refer the child to the local child advocacy center, if applicable, and make a corresponding report to centralized intake, as needed, for any alleged maltreatment that occurred while child was missing

Timeframes for Closing a Child's Placement After Running Away

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