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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 12, 2016 03:52 PM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Chronic Runaway Children
In the near future, I intend 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. I invite you to join me as a co-sponsor.

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 shelters, friends’ apartments, and cheap hotels. These youth are usually totally on their own for their survival and are frequent victims of violence on the streets, including physical or sexual abuse. Each year approximately 5,000 runaway and homeless youth die from assault, illness, and suicide.

This bill amends Title 42 (Judiciary) 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 DHS 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 SB 451 from the previous session. Co-sponsors included: Hughes, Williams, Fontana, Browne, Brewster and Vulakovich.

Introduced as SB149