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Sheriff's Office

Runaways

We have all heard of a child running away, or maybe even have experienced it on our own. When a child runs away, there are many factors to take into account from law enforcement’s perspective. What is the child’s age? What was said before they ran, if anything? Who does your child hang out with on a daily basis? Are there any local hangouts that your child frequents with friends? Is the child in danger? These are questions that many parents hope to never have to answer about their children; but are the type of questions that law enforcement will use to aid in the search of a runaway child.

A “runaway” is a child that is absent from the home without permission for any length of time. The common misconception is that you must wait at least 24 hours to report your child to local law enforcement. The length of time that you wait is dependent upon many changing factors.

The question you would have as a parent would be “What do I do in the event that my child runs away from home?”

In the event that your child has run away, call 911 and make a report with your local law enforcement agency. Upon the arrival of law enforcement, you will be asked many questions. Be aware the officer is trying to obtain as many details as they can about your child and the more information that you can provide the more helpful it will be. The more information you can provide; the better chance you give your child to be found. Information can include:

  • A current picture of your child (recommended).

  • Describe the clothing that your child was wearing the last time you saw them.

  • Local hangouts, groups, friends that your child is involved with.

  • Basic physical descriptors

  • Modes of transportation, methods of communication, etc.

In the event that the child is located, law enforcement will take the child into custody and transport them to the Wichita Children’s Home located at 810 N Holyoke in Wichita. The Children’s Home is tasked with determining the reasons and issues behind why the child ran away and will determine if the child will be placed into foster care or returned to their parents or legal guardians. The safety and security of the child is the main goal of all parties involved.

If the child is in imminent danger because of the facts surrounding their disappearance an Amber Alert may be issued1. The Amber Alert is a program designed to get the information out to local media to aid in the search1. Amber Alerts can only be initiated by law enforcement personnel. Factors to consider:

  • Age of the child, must be 17 years old or younger.

  • Law enforcement must believe that the child is in immediate danger of bodily harm or death.

  • There is enough information about the child and the possible suspect to disseminate to the public.

The situation always dictates the actions taken by law enforcement.

If you have any questions please refer to the related links and articles on this page.

We, at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, are dedicated to helping citizens combat crime in their neighborhoods.  But we need your help!  By utilizing crime prevention techniques around your home, work place, and vehicles, you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim!  If you have any questions about what you could do to help protect yourself and your property, please call either your Community Liaison Unit at (316) 660-3920 or your Community Policing Unit at (316) 660-0750.  Or email us at CommunityPartners@sedgwick.gov 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is not intended to be legal advice, but is merely intended to convey general information commonly encountered when dealing with the Subjects discussed herein. Because laws can change very rapidly, we cannot guarantee that any

Information on this document (or references contained therein) is current or accurate.  Additionally, laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and are subject to interpretation of courts located in each county. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case and the information provided herein may not be an appropriate fit for your particular situation. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, its employees, agents, or others will not be liable or responsible for any claim, loss, injury, liability, or damages related to use of this document or any reference provided herein.

References

1Kansas Amber Alert Web Site. Web. 17 Mar. 2010.

Date Written:  03/17/2010
Date Reviewed:  09/24/2013

Written by:  Deputy Blogref
Reviewed by: J. Page D1642