Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Littlest Runaways



Most people think kids who runaway from home are adolescents, maybe twelve years old or older. But on the website for the National Center For Missing Children, the two youngest children listed as "endangered runaways" are 1 year old and 2 years old.
How can two infants run away from home? When I first saw their "Missing Child" notices, I thought they were just listed wrong. But it turns out that the two toddlers... Leslie Cueller, age one year, and Adrianna Dawn Nieto, age 2, "ran away" in the company of their teenage mothers. (The two cases are unrelated... Adrianna is from Florida and Lesiie is from Texas.)
There is very little information about either of the children, or their young mothers. There are no news storiies about them in the online archives of newspapers, and the only Google results they get are the blurbs about their descriptions and the dates they went missing. Nobody seems to be searching that hard for them.
Still, it is easy to imagine their stories. Lieslie's mother, Maria Ortiz, was 16 when she ran away with her daughter, at the beginning of this month. Adrianna's mother, Kristi Snack, was only 14 when she ran away with Adrianna, last July.
It is impossible to know what the teenagers were running from... but obviously they were not trying to escape the responsibility of being parents, since they took their babies with them.
Having a child and being homeless would be hard enough. But the minute Kristi and Maria were listed as "endangered runaways", they and their children became fugitives. That would make it even harder for the teen moms to find shelter, food, etc, for themselves and their babies. Although some teens helters, such as Covenant House, have shelter programs for young mothers with babies, many shelters also do warrant checks to make sure that the teens who stay there haven't committed crimes in other states. Teens who are reported as missing or "endangered runaways" may have warrants out for them. And, seeing the posters with the missing mother and child together on them, some people might assume that these young mothers actually abducted their infants from someone else's custody. Having "endangered runaway" warrants out on them might make it harder than usual for the teen moms to find jobs, find housing, go to school, put their children in day care or preschool, or take their children to the doctor.
Yet, not listing the teen moms and babies as "endangered runaways" might be immoral, since there's no arguing that the world can be a dangerous place for a teenager on her own, especially with a baby in tow.
It's a puzzling problem... one to really think about... isn't it?

1 comment:

kristi_snack said...

i am kristi snack AND I WOULD LIKE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT I RAN AWAY DO TO THE FACT THAT DCF WOULDNT KEEP THERE HANDS OFF ME AND MY DAUGHTER ADRIANA WE WHERE MOVED FROM HOME TO HOME PLACEMENT TO PLACMENT,THEY HAVE TRAMITISED MY DAUGHTER ADRIANA FOR LIFE ANY TIME I GO SOME WHERE I CANT REALLY GET A BABYSITTER BECAUSE SHE THINKS THAT THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE HER FROM HER MOMMY AGAIN!I WAS VERY YOUNG SO THEY THOUGHT THAT I WAS INCAPABLE OF TAKING CARE OF MY DAUGHTER USING ANY EXCUSE TO TAKE HER FROM ME!INSTEAD OF DOING ANY GOOD IN OUR LIVES THEY TOUR ARE LIVES APART I WAS INDEED A VERY GOOD MOTHER.IF I WASNT WOULDNT YOU THINK THAT MY LITTLE GIRL WOULDNT WANT TO BE NEAR ME,I HAVE SEEN CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN ABUSED AND THEY DONT WANT TO GO ANY WHERE AROUND THERE PARENT'S MUCH LESS THEY USUALLY SCREAM ALOT WHEN THE MOTHER OR FATHER ARE TRYING TO SEE THEM WHILE THERE IN DCF CARE.MY DAUGHTER NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE AND WHEN SHE SAW ME SHE WOULD CRY AND NOT LET GO OF ME FOR ANYTHING!THIS EXPERIENCE WAS ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS ME AND MY DAUGHTER HAVE EVER WENT THROUGH,BUT AFTER BEING CAUGHT I FINISHED EVERY THING I NEEDED TO TO AND MY CASE WAS CLOSED.