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With an alarming number of runaways, of which I was one of the lucky ones, there are several resources and aids available to them. I have never met a runaway (including myself) that has not suffered and will not suffer later due to many factors of living on their own. Not only will their chances of survival be compromised but so will their moral obligations, health and self worth. As I encourage relying on His word, we must do our part in order to live an abundant life.
According to Runawayteens.org and 1800runaway.org, one in seven kids between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away at some point. And there are 1 million to 3 million runaway and homeless kids living on the streets in the United States.
Motivations for running away
47% of runaway / homeless youth indicated that conflict between them and their parent or guardian was a major problem.
Over 50% of youth in shelters and on the streets reported that their parents either told them to leave or knew they were leaving but did not care.
80% of runaway and homeless girls reported having ever been sexually or physically abused. 34% of runaway youth (girls and boys) reported sexual abuse before leaving home and forty-three percent of runaway youth (girls and boys) reported physical abuse before leaving home.
Childhood abuse increases youths' risk for later victimization on the street. Physical abuse is associated with elevated risk of assaults for runaway and homeless youth, while sexual abuse is associated with higher risk of rape for runaway and homeless youth.
Risk factors associated with running away
Over 70% of runaway and throwaway youth in 2002 were estimated to be endangered, based on 17 indicators of harm or potential risk. The most common endangerment component was physical or sexual abuse at home or fear of abuse upon return. The second most common endangerment component was the youth’s substance dependency.
12% of runaway and homeless youth spent at least one night outside, in a park, on the street, under a bridge or overhang, or on a rooftop.
7% of youth in runaway and homeless youth shelters and 14% of youth on the street had traded sex for money, food, shelter, or drugs in the last twelve months when surveyed in 1995.
32% of runaway and homeless youth have attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
Approximately 48.2% of youth living on the street and 33.2% of youth living in a shelter reported having ever been pregnant.
50% of homeless youth age 16 or older reported having dropped out of school, having been expelled, or having been suspended.
Demographics of runaways
Runaway youth are 50% male and 50% female, although females are more likely to seek help through shelters and hotlines.
40% of youth in shelters and on the street have come from families that received public assistance or lived in publicly assisted housing.
* As indicated to shelter staff at a federally funded runaway or homeless shelter
The following resources, such as phone numbers, web sites, and organizations were the result and are only in accordance to a search done on the world wide web and may or may not be accessible today. Other permanent solutions, such as talking to a bible based church pastor or associate, government, municipal or local agency may exist.
http://www.1800runaway.org Call 1-800-RUNAWAY
http://www.runawayteens.org/statistics.html Contact number 786-317-8774
TOLL FREE / INTERNATIONAL
"Just Say No" International - Drug & Alcohol Help800-258-2766 (24 hrs)
Other Listings by Country (TeenAdvice Online) Click Here - scroll to bottom of page for numbers
Crisis Centers Near You (Web Listings) Click Here - to find listings in your area
Kid's Help Phone1-800-668-6868 (24 hrs)
AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Diseases Info1-800-772-2437
End Abuse - Domestic Assault Line1-800-END-ABUSE (24 hrs)
Zenith Child Abuse Reporting & HelpDial the Operator and ask for "Zenith 1234" (24 hrs)
Eating Disorders Help Line1-800-382-2832 (24 hrs)
Domestic Abuse/Assault1-800-333-SAFE (24 hrs)
Teen AIDS Line800-234-TEEN (Mon-Fri) 800-440-TEEN (weekends)
National AIDS Line1- 800-342-AIDS
National Teen Gay & Lesbian Hotline1-800-347-TEEN (Thurs.-Sun., 7 pm-11:45 pm ET)
Family/Children's Mental Health Hot Line1-800-654-1247 (24 hrs)
National STD Hotline800-227-8922 (24 hrs)
Child help USA - Child Abuse Reporting1-800/4-A-CHILD (24 hrs)
Family Violence Help Line1-800/222-2000 (24 hrs)
National Runaway Hot Line1-800-HIT-HOME (24 hrs)
Runaway Help Line1-800-621-4000 (24 hrs)
Covenant House Crisis Support1-800-999-9999 (24 hrs)
Suicide Help Line1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
Youth Crisis Line1-800-448-4663
RAINN - Rape Support Line1-800-656-HOPE
Pregnancy Support and Advice1-888-4-OPTIONS
General Crisis Counselling1-800-785-8111
Whether being a parent, runaway or just a concerned citizen I implore you to seek assistance and heed the wisdom and advice of those that are aware of, accustomed to, have experience with and are in a position to help with these very unacceptable situations that we all must take responsibility for. There is not much I have not tried, but the key phrase here is 'I'; it is not about 'I'. The bible says we are a body of one and we cannot prevail without the words, help and encouragement of others. No one person can solely rely on him or herself and we must seek the love and compassion of others. For me, the key is to always remember the most important relationship we can have is with our creator, our true Father. Remembering what He founded, created and sacrificed for us. He is our ultimate reason for being, love and survival. I truly believe the more I listen to His word, what the bible teaches, and realize I am truly a child of God, the hardships in my past , the obstacles in my present, and the troubles in my future are now becoming marvelous, distant memories and are only making me a stronger more capable human being. Of which I pray for each and every soul.