Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CHILDREN the Runaways

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CHILDREN the Runaways

Article excerpt

Troubled teenagers, and their frustrated parents, need help -- and from a variety of sources.

As detailed in a Times-Union series during recent days, teenage runaways turn to drug abuse and other crimes, and even die, because they are unable to cope with life's problems.

One mother and father struggled for months to get help for their runaway daughter, but the welter of programs, laws, rules and regulations, with their gaps and overlaps, delayed the needed help.

Also, even outstanding programs such as the Youth Crisis Center in Jacksonville struggle under budget limitations.

Politicians need to get their priorities straight. Locally, Mayor John Delaney and the City Council have directed money to the Jacksonville Children's Commission, a key player.

But this is a national problem because runaway children often leave their home state to get as far away from problems in the community as possible.

Florida is a favorite place for troubled teenagers to flee. Yet, federal funds for Florida have been reduced. Local representatives in Congress are working to change that poor policy choice. …

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