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, the Department for Community Based Services (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 court designated worker (CDW); and
  • The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS/Cabinet) or Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), if appropriate.


Intervention process for a child suspected to be a runaway with no current CHFS open investigation or ongoing case.

SSW should refer to SOP 4.67 Locating Missing Children - Including Runaways for children committed to DCBS. 

The SSW:

  1. ​Assists the officer after a law enforcement assist referral is made and accepted;  
  2. Attends the detention hearing, as scheduled: and 
  3. Works with local law enforcement and/or the Office of the Attorney General to utilize Spotlight technology to search websites for possible trafficking of the child. ​Thorn is a 501(C)(3) organization that builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse. Additional information regarding Thorn and Spotlight technology can be found at:

​​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.

When the petition is filed with the court, the SSW:

  1. Enters the case as 'Court Related Activities/Status Offender' in the TWIST intake screens so that the court ordered status offender assessment and documentation tool (ADT) will be completed;
  2. Determines if the child has needs that will impact placement (may consult with the FSOS 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 foster or adoptive home (refer to SOP 4.10 Placement in a DCBS Foster or Adoptive Home;​ 
      4. Private child placing (PCP) foster home (refer to SOP 4.11 Private Child Placing (PCP) or Child Caring (PCC) Agency);
      5. Private-child-caring (PCC) residential placement; or
      6. Out-of-state placement (relative, relative resource home, or residential placement) (refer to SOP 4.12 Out of State Placement. 
  4. Prepares for the ten (10) day case planning conference as outlined in SOP 4.17 Preparation for and Completion of the Ten (10) Day Conference.




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