Adolescents who leave foster care without permission may encounter dangerous situations and place burdens on many government agencies, including child welfare and police. 

AWOL is the term used to describe when a child leaves without permission. Some call this "running away".

Some children develop  chronic AWOL histories. Most teens going AWOL from group care stay with friends and return to care voluntarily but one-third are involved in high-risk situations such as drug use or physical violence. 

Studies show that one way to curb AWOL or running away, is by providing more activities to counteract the boredom that drives many teens to run away. 

If a child is AWOL please contact your agency social worker immediately for guidance. If AWOL is confirmed, law enforcement should also be contacted. 

AWOL require a Serious Incident Report which will trigger an investigation. The agency social worker will provide guidance as to the information that should be provided once the investigation is initiated. 

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