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Homeless youths, their trackers, running around in circles

When foster kids run, someone has to go looking for them, writes columnist Jonathan Martin

Somewhere out there was a 15-year-old foster kid whose 20-year-old boyfriend had gotten hooked on heroin. Her mom was in prison. Her dad was long absent. When she got placed in the foster home of her choosing, she ran away a day later.

Now, her state Department of Social and Health Services social worker has to go find her. Mike Stamp has a three-Red-Bulls-a-day kind of energy. On a recent morning, he quickly scoured Facebook looking for a digital trail to follow. “Hiding in plain sight,” the runaway girl wrote in a post.

Editor’s note: Editorial writer Jonathan Martin spent several weeks looking at youth homelessness from all angles, traveling in-state and out to talk with kids, parents, foster parents, social workers, state officials and lawmakers. A series of editorials have addressed Martin’s findings and appeared alongside columns and guest commentaries addressing this issue.

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