A 14-year-old foster youth arrested at a long-troubled San Joaquin County children’s shelter was held in jail for weeks after a court had approved her release, simply because child welfare officials were unable to find a suitable home for her.

The girl’s incarceration ended abruptly Wednesday, hours after a reporter contacted officials at the local juvenile hall to inquire about her case. But the problem of youths being locked up because they have no parents to retrieve them and no placement in the foster care system underscores the serious consequences often facing children arrested at state-licensed facilities.

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