Examining the Link: Foster Care Runaway Episodes and Human Trafficking

Latzman, N. E., & Gibbs, D. (2020). Examining the link: Foster care runaway episodes and human trafficking. OPRE Report No. 2020-143. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Children and youth who run from foster care placements are a growing concern among policymakers and practitioners. A large number of youth in foster care run away from their placement at least once, and many do multiple times. Running from care is associated with a range of serious negative consequences, including human trafficking victimization.

In 2016, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) funded the Domestic Human Trafficking and the Child Welfare Population project to identify and better assist children and youth served by its programs who are victims of, or are at risk of, domestic human trafficking. As part of this effort, a report to Congress, The Child Welfare System Response to Sex Trafficking of Children, addressed the relationship between running away from foster care and sex trafficking. This brief summarizes and builds upon this report to Congress.

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