Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Should people be able to harbor a runaway with special needs?

I know that there are some teens that run away because there are many issues at home. Some kids are not safe. I understand that. However, if a teen runs away due to having special needs and not being able to communicate, should the parents of the home that the teen runs to be able to just continue harboring them? That is a question you should ask yourself. If the parents have a family that are constantly drinking in the home beyond a glass of wine, but where they are drunk, or they have drugs in their home. Is that acceptable?

This is what was happening to our teen, with Autism. When he was unable to communicate well, his defense was to run... and he was running to homes (2) with little to no supervision. We went to the parents, and we spoke to them by phone and in person. We told them the situation at hand and told them that our son was special needs and that he needed to be at home. When we would go to their home to return our son and bring him home, there would be lies that he was not there. The parents many times would not be home and there would be 20 kids or more outside playing and causing hell on the neighborhood. Sometimes the parents would just be getting out of bed... sometimes drunk, sometimes high. They told Taylor to tell the police that he was beaten at home, and the police would not make him go home. So, Taylor did. We had countless interviews with the police and it was discovered that no, we don't beat our son. In fact, the police told us to restrain our son at all lengths to keep him from leaving. We disagreed. To even hold Taylor's arm from walking away would be considered or mistaken by him as an attack. Someone would surely be hurt off of what the officers advice was. We were ordered off of the properties of the people that were harboring our son and told never to come back again. We followed those words so we would not be breaking the law. Our only recourse the police told us was to each time Taylor ran away, call the parents tell them to return him and then call the police. We once again complied. Many times the police would not even come to help. They said Taylor was just running a game. The had told us that it is not against the law to runaway but it is against the law to interfere with parental rights. We were to call them each and every time Taylor ran away. Again, many times they refused to go there. We explained to them about the danger he was in in those homes. With autism, he was at risk to the influence of drugs and alcohol and that is what was in those homes. They said that they would arrest the parents the next time they had Taylor in their home. They caught him an additional three times for sure by searching the home or threatening the mother, yet, still no arrests to her or the father, of either homes.

When Taylor would run away we would go door to door in the neighborhood with a photo of our son. We would tell the people he was autistic and we needed them to be our eyes and ears to find our son when he would run as he would surely be in that neighborhood. Each and every neighbor told us, get your son away from those kids, they are no good. They even were leaving death threats (the kids) on one of the neighbors doors, but they couldn't prove it was those kids as they did not see them put it on the door. It was HELL working with the police. Here we are trying to follow the laws, when you really want to tell them what you think and go to their door, but we tried to do what was right.

Now, through the media, we have found out that one of the homes had a father that was a sexual abuser. FANTASTIC. He had been on record for years so they police knew this when they pulled up to their house and we were standing there.

We have to establish laws for runaways and the people that harbor them. We especially have to do so for children with disabilities. They don't understand life like a normal teen. The answer is also not sending them to a drug and alcohol hospital. That is not what is wrong with the kids.

Please help pass the laws that we need.

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