Posted by: Blue
Last night we picked up 2 "missing" persons A.K.A. runaways.
The first was a chronic child (10 y/o) runaway. He leaves his foster shelter every few days and walks to his birth mom's house, often in bare feet and not dressed for the weather.
Due to the chronic nature of his running and the fact that his "caregivers" keep allowing this small boy to be put in danger by allowing him to walk right out the door (this past time, he reports that the worker said "go ahead! run off!"), he was brought back to the central after-hours shellter. We told the worker that alternative locations would be required to be found. Then he had this following conversation with the boy:
Worker: "So we're going to bring you back to that house OK? There's no other place for you to be."
Worker: "Are you going to stay there?"
Boy: "I'm going to go to sleep tonight and then run away again tomorrow."
Worker: "Well you shouldn't do that."
Boy: "I will! I want to see my mom!"
Worker: "Well I think we should have a talk about that."
Boy: "I'm going to keep running away. You can't put your hands on me to stop me."
Worker: "I'd like it if you just promised to stay so I don't have to."
Boy: "I'm going to run away whenever I want."
Me: "And this is why he needs a different placement where they are not afraid to take care of him properly and prevent him from running."
Worker: "I'll keep him here for a few hours until he's ready for bed and then bring him back there."
Me: "But he is just going to run again."
Worker: "I think he understands he can't be doing that."
Me: "Are you kidding me? It's abundantly clear that he does NOT understand that nor does he care to try. This boy needs to be somewhere safe and it is your job to put him there."
Worker: "There is nowhere for him to go other than that house."
Me: "Alright. I have no authority to do any differently. My report is going to reflect your neglect and the neglect of the staff at that house to care for this child."
Worker: "Fair enough."
Me: "Maybe for you. Not for him."