Responding to Youth Missing From Foster Care - Rhode Island

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Protocols for Reporting Children Missing From Care to Law Enforcement

Citation: Code of Rules, Tit. 214, § 030-00-1

A child or youth is determined to be missing when he/she cannot be located within the following timeframes:

  • Within 1 hour for children age birth to 13
  • Within 1 hour for youth of any age determined to be high risk
  • Within 24 hours for youth age 14 and older

When a child cannot be located and is determined to be missing from any placement, the placement provider, or parent/guardian if the child is placed at home, immediately shall do the following:

  • Call the child abuse and neglect hotline of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF)
  • Notify the local police department to file a missing person report

Local law enforcement will enter missing child information into the National Crime Information Center.

Protocols for Locating Children Missing From Care

Citation: Code of Rules, Tit. 214, § 030-00-1

DCYF staff, providers, and law enforcement will work collaboratively to ensure that children identified as absent or missing from their living arrangement are located immediately.

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

Citation: Code of Rules, Tit. 214, § 030-00-1

Once any missing/runaway child or youth is located, DCYF will assess the youth to determine the primary factors that contributed to the child or youth's running away.

Determining the Suitability of Current and Subsequent Placements

Citation: Code of Rules, Tit. 214, § 030-00-1

DCYF staff, providers, and law enforcement will work collaboratively to ensure that children identified as absent or missing from their living arrangement have their current placement evaluated to ensure that the child or youth is placed in the most appropriate and supportive setting that maintains the child or youth's safety.

Assessing the Child's Experiences While Absent From Care

Citation: Code of Rules, Tit. 214, § 030-00-1

DCYF staff, providers, and law enforcement will work collaboratively to ensure that children identified as absent or missing from their living arrangement are assessed for potential exploitation and receive the appropriate services and supports, if necessary. Once any missing/runaway child or youth is located, DCYF will assess the youth to determine the child or youth's experiences while absent from care.

Timeframes for Closing a Child's Placement After Running Away

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