This letter is to draw attention to the necessity of extending parents' jurisdiction over their teen-age children. At present, a child may arbitrarily choose to leave home at age 16. The resulting grief, financial hardship and other frustrations that follow are unjust and unnecessary. It can happen to anyone.
If a 16-year-old runs away from home, the police cannot do anything to help the parents. But the parents are liable for all of the child's insurance, medical bills, living expenses and other financial obligations. Parents must assume this responsibility even though they are unable to exercise any authority over their child. Under this system, the child has all the rights and the parents have all of the responsibilities.
New York State Assembly Bill A. 120 would rectify this situation by designating that those under age 18 who run away are subject to Persons In Need Of Supervision proceedings. The bill has already passed the Senate (59-0) and is currently referred to the Children and Families Committee in the Assembly.
Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, a member of that committee, is on record as being opposed to this bill. We must support this bill, which would help to reunite families and stop unjust suffering.
ROBERT and PAMELA PETERMAN Tonawanda