SAN DIEGO (KGTV/CNS) - Two young girls were found safe early Thursday morning after being reported missing for several hours.
San Diego police said the girls -- age 12 and 10 -- walked away from the San Diego Center for Children on Armstrong Street at about 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Staff members at the Linda Vista facility saw the girls leave, but it is unclear why they were not stopped, police said.
The missing persons report was issued by police just after midnight.
According to police, the 12-year-old girl had knowledge of the trolley system and had possible connections in El Cajon.
Just before 4 a.m., police announced that both girls were spotted in El Cajon by El Cajon police and were being sent back to the center.
Center for Children officials issued the following statement regarding the incident:
"We are grateful to the authorities who located the two youth who left our facility yesterday without permission. As an unlocked, state-licensed child care facility providing therapeutic care to youth with mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, we adhere to Community Care Licensing state guidelines that regulate the range of actions that staff can take in response to a youth attempting to leave the facility without permission. In these exceptional rare occurrences, supervising staff, who are trained to actively oversee the care of youth, are expected to adhere to these guidelines and immediately contact 911 to request police assistance. Our staff followed this protocol immediately as this event was occurring yesterday morning, and we are grateful that the police efforts resulted in their safe return."
The Center for Children "provides evidence-based therapeutic, educational, foster care and transition services to children and families struggling with mental, emotional and behavioral disorders," according to the nonprofit organization's website.