Kids missing from DHS a problem, but overall number in custody a greater concern
August 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
The Department of Human Services is tasked with caring for children who have been abused or neglected. Stories of children hurt or killed while in the DHS system resulted in recent restructuring and reforms at the agency.
But what about those children in DHS custody who run away? What can or should be done in those instances?
The Oklahoman reported Sunday that 78 children in DHS custody are missing. Nearly half of them have been gone more than three months, which a former volunteer with the Court Appointed Special Advocate program called “ridiculous.” She’s demanding more accountability. DHS officials who work in this area say there is accountability, but that keeping a child from running away is easier said than done. They believe none of those now missing were abducted, but instead fled of their own choosing.
If a child is abducted or determined to be at “high risk of harm,” immediate steps are taken to spread the word and seek the public’s help in finding the youth. For runaways, a different protocol is followed. It includes notifying law enforcement, the district attorney and the parents if they still have legal rights.