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Lawmaker wants to allow shelters to house runaways

Lawmaker wants to allow shelters to house runaways

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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 lawmakers will take up tomorrow.

Rep. Lorie Fowlke, an Orem Republican and family law attorney, says she doesn't want kids staying out on the streets at night.

Employees at shelters and youth services centers can currently be prosecuted for harboring a minor if they allow them to stay overnight.

Under Fowlke's bill, a runaway's parent or the Department of Child Protective Services would still need to be told where the child is within eight hours. But if a guardian, parent or a law enforcement officer fails to pick up the child, the shelter wouldn't be forced to kick out the runaway. A child could also stay at the shelter if a parent intentionally fails to provide food, shelter or clothing or make reasonable arrangements to get the child home safely.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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