Bill to OK sheltering of runaway children approved

Bill to OK sheltering of runaway children approved

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Homeless shelters would be allowed to house runaway and abandoned children overnight without fear of being prosecuted under a proposal that has been approved in the Utah House.

Employees at private shelters can now be prosecuted for harboring a minor if they allow them to stay overnight. Runaway children over 10 can stay at a state-run shelter, but some refuse to do so.

Under House Bill 22, a runaway's parent or the state would have to be told of the child's whereabouts within eight hours of the shelter learning his or her situation.

But if a guardian, parent or a law enforcement officer didn't pick up the child, the shelter wouldn't be forced to kick him or her out at 7 p.m.

The bill was approved 74-0 on Tuesday and will now be heard in the Senate.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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