We wanted to share about a “scenario” that happened yesterday in our city.
A police officer picks up a youth because of suspicious activity during daylight hours in Tulsa. As the police officer does the investigation it is found out that the child is on the NCIC missing person list. The officer attempts to contact all listed information on the list and is not able to get a hold of anyone who is a contact for the child. The officer then proceeds to see if they can place the child in the Laura Dester Shelter because it is in the past a place where these children can go. Since the shelter is closed the child can not go there. The police officer then proceeds to call other youth shelters that are run by different private organizations. None are able to take this youth. Then the officer proceeds to contact the juvenile detention center as an option. Because the child has done nothing wrong they can not keep and advocate for the child. So what is the officer supposed to do? There are crimes to be prevented, research to be done, streets to be patrolled….. He/She opens the door to the patrol car and tells the child to get out…..
We don’t have an answer for these difficult “potential scenarios” but we believe that as a community we can figure these things out if given the option. If you care about child trafficking, if you care about vulnerable children, if we want to prevent the types of crimes that are daily on the cover pages of news and media outlets, then get involved. Get educated. Begin serving and learning more about these children in our local group homes and shelters. Foster, adopt, become a CASA worker, work in legislation, serve a local case worker, support a police officer or fire fighter knowing that the scenarios that they are in daily are sometimes more than they can handle. Don’t turn a blind eye, don’t wipe your hands and say that it is someone else’s problem because no child should ever “fall through the cracks.” Let’s make sure we have a plan and kids in our state have the best amount of care and opportunity available to them.