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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70258 Find in a Library
Title: Adolescent Runaway - A National Problem
Journal: USA Today  Volume:107  Issue:2406  Dated:(March 1979)  Pages:24-28
Author(s): B Ritter
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The complex issues raised by the thousands of young people who have run away from home cross a dozen different jurisdictions--States' rights, parents' right, children's rights, etc.--and can be handled by such programs as Covenant House in New York City.
Abstract: Over 1,000,000 juveniles run away every year in the U.S., in addition to the thousands of self-emancipated youngsters between the ages of 16 and 18. The Covenant House has acted as a crisis center for several years, with 4,000 children applying for help in just the first year of the House's operation. The ambiguity, confusion, and differences in statutes between one State and another, and within the same State, make it almost impossible on occasion to resolve the legal status of a runaway or homeless child. An overburdened New York City police force cannot begin to cope with the huge numbers and do not have any jurisdiction over children age 16 and older. These older children are expecially problematic because it is extremely difficult for them to receive public assistance, find decent jobs, or enter into contracts. Thus many of the children become willing or unwilling victims of the $1,500,000 sex industry that feeds on children in the Times Square area. Since the children are hungry, homeless, and have nothing to sell but themselves, they are easily victimized and abused. While the New York police cannot be blamed for inadequately enforcing difficult laws, they clearly do not make the crime of child prostitution and abuse a priority; this is true also of the district attorney, the Attorney General, the judges, and the politicians. Prostitution and child abuse are big business and are obviously protected. Meanwhile child abuse continues, at the hands of parents and family, on the streets, and at the hands of bureaucracy of child services. The Special Services for Children (SSC) and the Division of Youth are culprits in this respect. The SSC almost appears to have an official policy of foot-dragging with regard to the certification of children for care. Such antiquated, financially limited administrations are not helping those children whose numbers are growing and whose problems are worsening. Programs such as those at Covenant House can go a long way towards alleviating those problems. Extensive case examples are provided.
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child abuse situation remedies; Child Pornography; Child protection services; Juvenile prostitution; New York; Runaways
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