340:75-6-48.3. Children missing from care
(a) A child or youth missing from care is one who runs away, is abducted, or is otherwise absent from placement.
(b) Per Section 1-9-123 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. §1-9-123) the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) takes appropriate steps when a child or youth in DHS custody or under DHS supervision is missing from care or when DHS has reasonable cause to believe a child or youth is currently, or is at risk of being, a victim of sex trafficking, including a child or youth:
(1) for whom DHS has an open case file, but who was not removed from the home;
(2) who ran away from foster care and has not attained 18 years of age; or
(3) who is not in foster care, but is receiving services.
(c) When notified a child or youth is missing from care, the child welfare (CW) specialist within 24 hours of notification, reports the child's or youth's status to the:
(1) appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction and requests the report be sent to the National Crime Information Center; and
(2) National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
(d) When a child or youth in DHS custody or under DHS supervision is missing from care, DHS:
(1) immediately takes steps to locate the child or youth;
(2) determines the primary factors that contributed to the child or youth running away or otherwise being absent from placement;
(3) documents and responds, to the extent possible and appropriate, to those factors that contributed to the absence from care or runaway behaviors in the current and subsequent placements of the child or youth; and
(4) determines what the child or youth experienced while missing from care, including an appropriate screening to see if the child or youth is a possible victim of sex trafficking.
(e) The CW specialist reports to appropriate law enforcement jurisdictions immediately and, in no case later than 24 hours, after receiving information on a child or youth who is identified as a sex trafficking victim, per 10A O.S. § 1-1-105.
(f) Runaway juveniles from other states, with or without delinquent status, may be held in a detention facility, per 10A O.S. § 2-3-101 and the Interstate Compact for Juveniles Act, 10A O.S. §§ 2-9-101 through 2-9-116.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-6-48.3
1. Missing from care. The child or youth in Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) custody or under DHS supervision, in an open Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation, family-centered services (FCS) case, or a Permanency Planning (PP) case is considered missing from care when he or she, without DHS permission, leaves or is taken by a parent, placement provider, or any person from a DHS-authorized location including his or her own home, a respite or relative's home, foster care, or any placement more restrictive than a foster care placement.
2. Placement provider role. When the placement provider learns the child or youth is missing, the provider:
(1) files a report with law enforcement; and
(2) contacts the assigned child welfare (CW) specialist, providing details of the incident and information reported to law enforcement.
3. CW specialist role. When the CW specialist is notified the child or youth is missing, the CW specialist:
(1) immediately files a report with the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction and requests that the child or youth be reported to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC);
(2) immediately notifies the district attorney, child's or youth's attorney, and, when applicable, his or her parent or parents;
(3) submits the necessary paperwork, as determined by the court of jurisdiction, within one-business day to request that the court issue a pick-up order indicating the child or youth is a ward of the court;
(4) documents no later than one-business day after the episode, the missing from care placement episode in KIDS Placement screen with an exit reason of AWOL (runaway) when the child or youth has an open removal and is in DHS custody;
(5) contacts any relative or collateral including, but not limited to, a court-appointed special advocate (CASA), guardian ad litem, service provider, counselor, therapist, or school personnel, who may have information about the child's or youth's whereabouts. The CW specialist:
(A) continues to make ongoing efforts to locate the child or youth until he or she is safely returned to an approved placement including, but not limited to, contacting the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction, relatives, any collaterals, or other sources that may assist DHS in locating and protecting the child or youth. These efforts take place as often as needed and never less than once per month until the child or youth is located; and
(B) documents the contacts explaining efforts to locate the child or youth in KIDS Contacts screen at least once per month, flagging the contact as a "Worker visit, no contact with child";
(6) updates KIDS Living Arrangement fields in Client/Gen. Info./Birth Place/Living Details tab with AWOL (runaway); and
(7) immediately notifies the CW supervisor and district director to inform them the child or youth is missing from care and to confirm all steps are being taken to locate the child or youth including reporting him or her to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) within 24 hours after receiving notification of the child or youth missing from care.
4. District director role.The district director:
(1) ensures the CW specialist reports the child or youth to NCMEC after notification from the CW specialist and documents in a KIDS Contacts.When extenuating circumstances exist where the search for the missing child or youth needs additional assistance to locate him or her, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) may be contacted after NCIC and NCMEC notifications were completed;
(2) maintains a current log of children who are in missing status and compares the log to Report YI103, Placement Report, Runaway Tab, to ensure each child or youth on the log is entered into KIDS;
(3) ensures significant efforts are continuously made to locate the child or youth and documented at least once per month;
(4) communicates search efforts regularly to the regional director on a schedule set by the regional director; and
(5) ensures the child or youth is retrieved and placed in an approved placement as soon as he or she is located.
5. NCMEC reporting. The CW specialist:
(1) reports the child or youth to NCMEC by:
(A) calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678); or
(B) reporting online at http://cmfc.missingkids.org/ReportHere. When reporting online, the CW specialist needs to create an online account with NCMEC. The CW specialist:
(i) clicks the link for first time user;
(ii) enters his or her email address and state;
(iii) receives an email from NCMEC with a link to continue registration; and
(iv) creates a user identification (ID) and password to complete registration. The CW specialist receives an email from NCMEC with a link to his or her account for login. The CW specialist saves the link for future access to the account;
(2) provides the requested information about the child or youth; and
(3) contacts the CPS Programs Unit when a child or youth was abducted and the CPS Programs Unit enters a protective service alert, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-3-300 Instructions to Staff (ITS) # 11.
6. Protocol for the return of the child or youth who is missing from care. When the child or youth is located, the CW specialist:
(1) immediately assesses his or her safety and determines whether to return him or her to a DHS-authorized placement, when he or she is in DHS custody.
(A) The CW specialist may consider seeking expedited placement approval with the person with whom the child or youth was found including, but not limited to, a:
(i) parent whose parental rights were terminated, when reinstatement is applicable per Section 1-4-909 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-4-909) and OAC 340:75-6-40.8; ;
(ii) parent who has not completed the court-ordered individualized service plan, when this is a safe option or safety can be ensured through a safety plan and the court grants approval for reunification; or
(iii) person who is not a DHS-authorized placement provider, by seeking expedited placement provider approval for such person.
(B) Approval to place the child or youth with the person with whom he or she was found is determined on a case-by-case basis, unless the person has a felony conviction per OAC 340:75-7-15. The automatic bar to placement for certain criminal history does not apply to a parent;
(2) assesses the reasons the child or youth left the previous placement without DHS permission by evaluating his or her safety in the previous placement and having a private conversation with him or her about why he or she left, if he or she felt safe there, and where he or she wants to live. The content of this conversation is documented in a KIDS Contacts screen;
(3) refers to information on runaways, per OAC 340:75-1-86 ITS, when a child or youth, who is not in his or her DHS-approved placement, was located in another state;
(4) takes steps to return the child or youth to the legal custodian or recommends he or she be placed in DHS custody when the child is under DHS supervision;
(5) immediately, or no later than one-business day, after the CW specialist located a child or youth missing from care:
(i) the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction and requests NCIC be notified that the child or youth was located; and
(ii) the district attorney, child's or youth's attorney, and, when applicable, the child's or youth's parent or parents;
(B) submits the necessary paperwork as determined by the court of jurisdiction to recall the pick-up order;
(C) notifies CPS programs staff to close the protective service alert and reports to NCMEC, when applicable;
(D) end dates KIDS missing placement episode, when applicable;
(E) updates KIDS Living Arrangements fields; and
(F) contacts any relative or collateral including, but not limited to, CASA, guardian ad litem, service provider, counselor, therapist, or school personnel, who was contacted for information on the whereabouts of the child or youth to report his or her return to the DHS-authorized location. The CW specialist documents the contacts in KIDS Contacts screen; and
(6) immediately reports the child or youth to the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction, and in no case later than 24 hours after receiving information on a child or youth who was identified as a sex trafficking victim, per 10A O.S. § 1-1-105.
7. Protocol for a child or youth missing from care who cannot be located. The CW specialist:
(1) continues to contact law enforcement, relatives, and any collaterals once per month until the child or youth is located; and
(2) after a one-year search, when there are no other children in the case, the child or youth is not in permanent DHS custody, and he or she was not located, submits Form 04KI014E, Individualized Service Plan (ISP) Progress Report, to the court documenting the efforts to locate him or her over the one-year time frame, and requests dismissal of the deprived case.
(A) The CW specialist advises each parent of the request for dismissal of the deprived case.
(B) When the court does not dismiss the deprived case, the CW case remains open and the CW specialist continues to make efforts every 30-calendar days until the child or youth is located or the case is dismissed. The CW specialist requests that the deprived case be dismissed at each subsequent court review.
(C) When the deprived case is dismissed, the CW specialist:
(i) notifies law enforcement and the child's or youth's parent or parents, when applicable;
(ii) submits the necessary paperwork as determined by the court of jurisdiction to recall the pick-up order;
(iii) notifies CPS and programs staff to close out the protective service alert and reports to NCMEC, OIG, or both, when applicable;
(iv) end dates the KIDS child missing from care placement episode;
(v) updates removal and custody status information in KIDS; and
(vi) closes the CW case.