Over 140,000 young people are reported missing each year. There are many reasons why children run away. Words can hurt. Sometimes children run away because they are verbally abused. When children are unhappy at home they will seek to find happiness someplace else. Each child has their own story. Most of the time children run away because they are abused or misunderstood. Many youths run away because they are confused about their sexuality or because their parents do not accept their sexuality. Sometimes runaways have been physically and/or sexually abused at home. Sometimes children runaway from court-ordered placements to go back to the place that they call home.
Some runaways have good families that worry about them. Others may not. It is estimated that unaccompanied youth make up 50% of the homeless youth population and they are unsheltered. 66% of all homeless people live with no shelter at all and often in places that are not meant for human habitation. Poverty is the highest risk factor that leads to homelessness.
Victims of childhood sexual assault are most likely to be homeless children, children in the foster care system, refugees, and LGBTQ youth. It is estimated that 100,000 children are sexually exploited in the United States each year. Children run away from bad situations at home, foster homes, and adoptive placements. Predators and even recruiters for cults, and sex traffickers wait outside bus stations, parks, malls, and other areas where runaways are likely to be found.
Family and friends can prevent children from running away. Adults and children can build trust by communicating and engaging with each other daily. Parents and other caregivers should be aware of the online dangers facing today’s youth. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Gaming Apps can be dangerous. Pay attention to your child’s online presence and use parental controls to stop some websites from getting access to your home internet and your children’s cell phones.
If you or someone you know needs help contact:
National Youth Crisis Hotline 800-448-4663.
The Trevor Project: A leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. Need help? 1-866-488-7386 (24/7) https://www.thetrevorproject.org
Runaway Services: Runaway Hotline (All Calls are Confidential) 800-231-6946
Minding Hearts is building advocacy and peer support groups in each state. The groups are created to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for those that might not otherwise be heard. We are here for encouragement, education, and support. We are here to support families and develop resources that maintain family integrity. We look forward to your support. If you would rather become active by donating, then visit the donation page.