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Shelter Restrictions

In Alabama any person who takes a child into custody must, with all possible speed, make arrangements to release the child to their parents, the court, or an appropriate intake facility or agency.217 If there is no parent, guardian, custodian, or suitable person willing and able to provide supervision for a runaway, the court has to make a determination if the child should continue to live in shelter care.

Alabama has a very vague statute regarding shelter restrictions because it requires runaways to be reported, but it does not specify what ``all possible speed'' means.218 Under the all possible speed standard, a runaway could be reported at any time during the 24-72 hour period stipulated by the federal rules.219 The open-ended nature of the statute provides a great deal of leeway to people who provide services to at risk youth populations. In Alabama, a minor can continue to receive shelter care if there is no person to actually take care of them, such as a parent or guardian.220 The court determines if youth are eligible for shelter care, but it gives youths who truly need it access to shelters, regardless of restrictions. The court's intervention regarding shelter care gives runaway youths access to a hearing process, and it allows their situation to be evaluated on an independent basis.221 Alabama seems to focus on the population as a whole in its legislation, but it also attempted to include ways for people in special situations to gain access to needed services.



Footnotes

...217
Ala. Code 12-15-58 (2001).
...218
Id.
...219
45 C.F.R. 1351.18 (2002).
...220
Ala. Code 12-15-58 (2001).
...221
Id.

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