KOBE--A schoolgirl in distress who said she had been kicked out of her home was turned away from a child welfare center here when she sought help at 3 a.m.

“Judging by her appearance and what she said and how she behaved, I didn’t think it was an emergency,” said the man on duty who refused assistance, according to an announcement by the Chuo Ward center on Feb. 18.

The employee of a nonprofit organization was manning the night shift Feb. 10 when the elementary school sixth-grader sought help.

He did not meet the girl in person, but only addressed her over the intercom while he watched her on a monitor.

The girl told him that she had been kicked out of the house, but the employee sent her away and told her to “talk to the police.”

Left with no alternative, the youngster headed off alone in search of a koban police box.

Officers at the one she found took her into custody and got in contact with the same child welfare center, which finally admitted her.

The center said it admonished the employee, a member of the NPO that provides staff for night and holiday shifts.

The center said that its manual states that employees must report all nighttime visitors to city government officials first before deciding how to respond. 

“The girl asked for help, but our staff let her down,” a center official said. “To avoid this from ever happening again, we have ordered all our employees to comply thoroughly with the manual.”