D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says she has redoubled efforts to find and help missing children and runaways, but she still asserts that the city isn’t facing a crisis of vanishing youths.
“We don’t have a particular or unique problem when it comes to missing children,” Miss Bowser said Wednesday at a press conference. “But we have made the very intentional decision to talk about it differently, to publicize it differently and to address it differently.”
The mayor noted the near-completion of six initiatives, including adding more police officers to the Child and Youth Services Division, expanding posts on social media about missing children and partnering with Sasha Bruce Youthwork to offer 24-hour housing to runaways who need a haven to connect with social services.
She said the publicity campaign for the initiatives already is working, with nonprofit partners reporting that they are receiving more calls from runaways seeking assistance.
In addition, a working group has convened over the last six weeks to offer suggestions beyond the six initiatives, including offering more government services to runaways to figure out what’s causing them to leave home in the first place.
“That will help us understand how many kids are leaving because of conflict in the home or [they] felt unsafe in their home environment,” Brenda Donald, head of the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, said at the press conference. “We want to make sure that we’re responding [in] the right [manner] because our goal is to move upstream, so we’re doing more prevention and intervention so the kids don’t run in the first place.”
Source: The Washington Times