WASHINGTON -- The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed Thursday reauthorizing two laws designed to find missing children and to help runaways.
Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is pushing reauthorization of the Missing Children's Assistance Act and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.The first would continue assistance to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a hotline it operates.
The second would continue but streamline grants and programs for runaways and youth at highest risk for abuse, drug use and crime. Hatch said Utah received $378,000 last year in such grants.
"The provisions of this bill (to reauthorize both laws) will strengthen our commitment to our youth and improve the safety of our nation's children," Hatch said.
"Families who have written to me have shared the pain of a lost or missing child. While missing, lost, on the run or abducted, each of these children is at high risk of falling into the darkness of drug abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, pain, hunger and injury.
"These children deserve our efforts to save them, and the bill we reported out today is a step in that direction," he said. The bill now goes to the full Senate.