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Q. XIII.1 Who can apply for VESID? How? At what age? What are the parameters of their services?

Q. XIII.2 Can an undocumented youth: get working papers? a social security card? Access shelter at a runaway program?

Q. XIII.3 What is "harboring"? Can an adult take a runaway into his/her home?

Q. XIII.4 Can a young person be held liable for damage to a building, a program, or in their interactions with younger clients?

Q. XIII.5 Does a runaway program have any responsibility to notify police about a runaway youth?

Q. XIII.6 What is the impact of the Federal Welfare Reform Act on immigrant youth?

Q. XIII.7 If a runaway program transports a child, what liability do they risk?


Q. XIII.1 Who can apply for VESID? How? At what age? What are the parameters of their services?

A. VESID stands for Vocational Education Services for Individuals with Disabilities. VESID is a State program that assists young people and adults with disabilities to obtain employment. School age children may be eligible for VESID's services while still in school as part of an Individual Educational Program (IEP), and the transitional service plan as part of an annual guidance plan. For a person with a disability who requires rehabilitation services in order to secure employment and is no longer in school, he/she may seek assistance through a local VESID office.

Q. XIII.2 Can an undocumented youth: get working papers? a social security card? access shelter at a runaway program?

A. An undocumented alien cannot get working papers or a social security card. They do remain eligible for runaway/homeless youth services and have the right to attend school.

Q. XIII.3 What is "harboring"? Can an adult take a runaway into his/her home?

A. Although "harboring" is not a legal term, we believe the question involves the potential liabilities of adults who agree to take a young person into their home without parental permission. Potential criminal liability exists in limited cases.

The crime of custodial interference involves the removal of a child under the age of sixteen from the child's lawful custodian, by a relative with the intent to hold such child permanently or for a protracted period of time. Even in these cases, it is an affirmative defense if the child was abandoned or the action was a necessary response to an emergency of threatened or actual mistreatment or abuse.

A relative, for purposes of custodial interference includes a parent, ancestor, brother, sister, uncle or aunt.

Unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping is a crime involving an abduction or the unlawful restraint of a person's movement. A person may be charged with kidnapping or unlawful imprisonment for taking a child less than sixteen years of age into his/her home by any means without the consent of the parent, guardian or other person or institution having lawful control or custody of the child. As you know, under New York law, children under 16 are free to go to a runaway/homeless youth shelter or host home (under the supervision of such programs) without parental consent. Therefore, the threat of criminal prosecution in such cases is unenforceable.

Q. XIII.4 Can a young person be held liable for damage to a building, a program, or in their interactions with younger clients?

A. A judge could require restitution to pay for damage to a building or program, or a parent may be liable for the destructive acts of a minor up to $5,000. In cases involving injury to another client, the question of liability depends upon the facts of the case.

Q. XIII.5 Does a runaway program have any responsibility to notify police about a runaway youth?

A. No. A runaway program is not required to contact the police in such cases and MUST honor a young person's right to confidentiality. (see X.1 and X.3)

Q. XIII.6 What is the impact of the Federal Welfare Reform Act on immigrant youth?

A. Although changes are being debated, most immigrants, unless citizens, are not eligible for most federal benefit programs. In New York, most resident aliens , if needy, will be eligible for non-cash benefits (also known as the safety net).

Q. XIII.7 If a runaway program transports a child, what liability do they risk?

A. The program assumes the same responsibilities and potential liabilities as anyone who takes another person into a car.

Empire State Coalition
P.O. Box 25312
Brooklyn, NY 11202-5312
Phone: (718) 237-2722

Email: info@EmpireStateCoalition.org



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