MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two moms desperately searching for their 10 and 11-year-old daughters — friends who never came home from school Monday afternoon.  

They passed out flyers, hoping someone may have information. As they and police were tracking down leads, they got the call they were praying for.

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“You have them?” Roxan Shirley said, elated they were found.

She ran to her daughter. The girls were found in Arts Park at Young Circle in Hollywood, 3 miles from their school. They had been missing for nearly 24 hours.

Both moms hugged their girls. They were found sitting under a slide.

The parents are beyond grateful their kids are safe.  

CBS 4 News has chosen not to identify the girls. “Hopefully it was just two kids who made a silly decision to run away, but it’s more than silly, it’s scary. It’s hazardous. Anything could have happened to them,” Shirley said.

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“We’ve been involved in what I consider the biggest mental health crisis I’ve ever seen. This crisis has not missed our kids,” said Licensed Mental Health Counselor James Phillips. He’s talking about living through more than 2 years of the coronavirus pandemic. He said it’s had an impact on children.

“More incidents of runaways, more incidents of arrests, more incidents of drug use, more incidents of high-risk behaviors are all part of this mental health crisis,” he said.

Phillips urges parents to pay attention to what’s on their child’s cell phone and to restrict use when needed.  

He also recommends monitoring activity on interactive video game servers and social media and to look for signs of disengagement, a potential red flag.  

“If you have a kid who’s normally happy and usually happy to be home and talks to you and they’re withdrawing, withdrawing from their family, withdrawing from their friends. Of they just don’t want to talk to you,” he said.

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If you’re concerned about a child needing help you can call 211 in Miami-Dade and Broward. They can connect you with services. You can also ask your child’s pediatrician for resources.

Ted Scouten