45 children in the care of Rhode Island’s child welfare agency are currently listed as missing. Rhode Island Public Radio learned about the number missing after a 14-year-old girl in the agency's care was found in New Jersey with an alleged sex trafficker. The Department of Children, Youth, and Family says she was lured away from a group home. Spokesman Denis Riel says the agency takes its responsibility for children seriously.
“Of all the things we see in our guardianship role over the course of the day," said Riel, "one of the most pressing matters is children who are missing. So we’ve got a person who is focused his expertise on working with law enforcement and gathering information to help bring those children back.”
Riel says some of the missing children may have been gone less than 24 hours, and may end up on the list after missing curfew at a group home. But he acknowledges some have been missing for much longer.