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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: December 7, 2012 11:31 AM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Chronic Runaway Children
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation amending Title 42 of the Pa.C.S. by adding language that will provide for the assessment and counseling of chronic runaway children.

According to the National Runaway Switchboard, over 2 million runaway and homeless youth live on the streets of America each day. One out of every seven children will run away before the age of 18. “Situational runaways” (the largest group of runaways) leave home for a day or two after a disagreement with parents. Although they may spend a brief time on the street, they usually return home within a few days.

However, there are young people who repeat this behavior and remain away for longer periods. If so, they become a part of the chronic runaway group that do not return home at all, but live in transitory housing such as friends’ apartments, shelters, and cheap hotels. They tend to hang out at fast food restaurants shopping malls and video arcades. These youth are usually totally on their own for their survival and are frequent victims of the violence and numerous dangers of the streets.

This bill amends Title 42 to define ‘chronic runaway child’ as one that runs away from home more than once in any month or at least three times in any year. It also directs DPW to develop specific assessment/counseling plans for chronic runaways as part of county shelter care, custody and detention programs approved by the Commonwealth.

This is a reintroduction of Senate Bill 649 from the previous legislative session. Co-sponsors included Senators Fontana, Tartaglione, Ferlo, and Browne.

Introduced as SB92