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Teen stowaway's dad travels to Hawaii to see him

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm •  Published: April 30, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii officials say the father of a 15-year-old boy who stowed away in a jetliner's wheel well has arrived in Honolulu from California, but they have been tightlipped about what happens next.

A state Department of Human Services spokeswoman said the agency's child welfare unit won't disclose any information on the release of the teen, Yahya Abdi, because of concerns about privacy and confidentiality.

Spokeswoman Kayla Rosenfeld on Tuesday confirmed the arrival of Abdilahi Yusuf.

She said previously that Abdi was in a Honolulu hospital after being transferred to state custody from the Maui airport, where he was questioned by FBI and airport officials following the April 20 flight.

A spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in San Francisco who had been speaking for the family declined to comment beyond reiterating a statement earlier this week that Yusuf wanted to see his son soon.

In a typical runaway case in Hawaii, the Human Services Department's child welfare unit would begin by investigating any abuse allegations, said Jaque Kelley-Uyeoka, deputy CEO of Hale Kipa, a nonprofit that works with at-risk youth in Hawaii.

"DHS, they're not looking to take kids away from families," she said. "If DHS rules there is no abuse or neglect, then they are not going to allow for an extended out-of-home stay, by any means. The possibility is DHS steps out of the picture, and we work to unify the family."

Brokering reconciliation in a runaway case without evidence of abuse could take only a few days, Kelley-Uyeoka said. Alternately, the state or a service provider could try to arrange counseling, or for the child to stay with another relative.

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