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Absent Without Legal Permission (AWOLP) Youth


Children placed in foster care in Michigan who subsequently run away from that placement are deemed “Absent Without Legal Permission” or AWOLP.  In November 19, 2002, the Michigan Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2002-4 which required all circuit courts to develop a plan to locate and monitor AWOLP children, as well as report back to the Supreme Court on these cases. Plans were submitted by local administrative order.


AWOLP Case Reporting

Circuit courts report AWOLP statistics to SCAO through a secure web-based application (AWOLP system). The AWOLP system is managed by the State Court Administrative Office and is available through the Michigan Court Application Portal. Each circuit court has an administrator who may request access to the AWOLP system for court staff, as well as local Department of Human Services (DHS) and private agency workers.


Every week, DHS sends SCAO a list of children designated as AWOLP. This list is uploaded into the AWOLP system, and an automated e-mail is sent to all AWOLP system users with new cases under their jurisdiction. All system users may then access the AWOLP record for each child and provide all pertinent data. This data is used to create reports for users. AWOLP system users may only view the cases for their county. For example, a system user in Wayne County will not be able to view the AWOLP data for children in Ingham County.


AWOLP Training 

October 21, 2012

An AWOLP training held in 2010 provided examples of how one county uses both court and DHS staff to optimize its use of the AWOLP system. Staff provided recommendations on how the AWOLP system can make data sharing and preparation for AWOLP hearings significantly easier. Michigan State Police staff also provided information about how to ensure AWOLP children are entered into the Law Enforcement Information Network and the proper use of tools such as the Amber Alert.


>> View the archived webcast.


January 24, 2008

In 2008, Michigan Supreme Court, State Court Administrative Office, Department of Human Services, and Federal Bureau of Investigation staff presented as webcast on Children Missing from Care: AWOLP - An Update, focusing on DHS policies and procedures and the Innocence Lost National Initiative.


>> View the archived webcast.


September 8, 2006

A best practices forum was held in 2006 that focused on strategies to improve delivery of services to foster children and their families, as well as successful intervention strategies to reduce the number of children absent from placement. Efforts of Michigan Department of Human Services and Michigan State Police staff to locate AWOLP children were featured and there was candid facilitated discussion regarding issues, concerns, shared strategies, and ideas to improve practices to more effectively locate missing children and prevent children missing from care.


Memoranda, Best Practice Tips, and Resources 

Staff contact

Darla Brandon

(517) 373-8036 

​Articles of Interest

School Engagement and Youth Who Run From Care

By Ada Skyles, Cheryll Smithgall, Eboni Howard,

Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, 2007


Circumstances and Suggestions of Youth Who Run From Out-of-Home Care

By Angelique Day, MSW and Joanne Riebschleger, Ph.D., LMSW,

Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal, Fall 2007