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Resolution On Crisis Help For Children On The Street

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has long had special concern for the needs of American children and their families; and

WHEREAS, Each year over 1 million children in this country find themselves homeless or run away from home; and

WHEREAS, Children temporarily separated from their parents and living on the street face the most graphic forms of exploitation in prostitution, pornography, and cults; and

WHEREAS, Current programs for homeless and runaway children serve only a small percent of those who need help; and

WHEREAS, Parents desperately searching for lost children need the assistance of individuals and programs committed to provide crisis help to their children and promote family reunification; and

WHEREAS, The laws of most states neither promote the provision of crisis shelter and services to children on the street nor establish a legal framework for private individuals, organizations, and churches to provide such help.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 16-18, 1987, recognize that the crisis needs of runaway, homeless, and missing children should be given high priority by churches, private citizens, legislators, and government officials; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That those needs are best served by carefully structured private programs under legal guidelines established by state law; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we encourage strict confidentiality for children and families served by the program, strong requirements for family notification within hours and family reunification within days, and clear legal protection for private individuals, churches, and organizations providing good faith crisis help to homeless and runaway children; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That crisis programs for children should, while respecting the religious backgrounds of the children served, make special efforts to provide as much for their spiritual and emotional needs as for their physical wants.