Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

9.3 In State Runaways

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 9-Status Offender Services
9.3 In State Runaways

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Legal Authority/Introduction


When a child is taken into protective custody by law enforcement and suspected of being a runaway, DCBS may become involved, if necessary.   In these circumstances, it is the police officer’s duty to notify the following people, in the following order:

  • Parent, guardian, or person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child;
  • The CDW;
  • The Cabinet or DJJ, if appropriate.

If the child is discovered to be a habitual runaway, as defined by 600.020(30), DJJ is responsible for assisting law enforcement; however, if the child is not a habitual runaway, it is DCBS that assists law enforcement. 


Intervention Process for a Child Suspected to be a Runaway with No Current Open Investigation or Ongoing Case

The SSW:

  1. Assists the officer with temporary placement of the child; and
  2. Attends the detention hearing, as scheduled.
  3. If at the detention hearing the child is released to DCBS, the court will issue an Emergency Custody Order (ECO) (pursuant to KRS chapter 620), place the child with the Cabinet and the SSW files a petition with the court.
  4. At this point, the SSW:
    1. Enters the case as “Court Related Activities/Status Offender” in the intake screens in order for the Court Ordered Status Offender ADT to be completed;
    2. Determines if the child has needs that will impact placement (may consult with the family services office supervisor and regional staff to discuss the needs of the child from information provided on the placement summary request);
    3. Selects the most appropriate, least restrictive placement type from the following options:
      1. Non-custodial parent;
      2. Relative placement;
      3. DCBS resource home (refer to SOP 4.10 Placement in a DCBS Resource Home);
      4. PCC foster home (refer to SOP 4.11 Private Child Placing (PCP) or Child Caring (PCC) Agency);
      5. Residential placement; and
      6. Out of state placement (relative, relative resource home, or residential placement) (refer to SOP 4.51 Out of State Placement); and
    4. Prepares for the Five (5) Day Case Planning Conference as outlined in SOP 4.17 Preparation for and Five (5) Day Conference.

Intervention Process for a Runaway who is in an Open Case with DCBS

The SSW:

  1. Files a missing persons report, within twenty-four (24) hours, with the local law enforcement agency for all runaways who are committed to the Cabinet.  This will be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC);
  2. Files a motion to redocket;
  3. Requests a pickup order if the child is in the custody of the Cabinet.





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