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Last month, Chicago's National Runaway Switchboard became the National Runaway Safeline. For nearly 40 years, the Family and Youth Services Bureau has funded the organization to be the federally designated national communication system for runaway and homeless youth.
FYSB's Acting Associate Commissioner, Debbie A. Powell, recently wrote about the name change on The Family Room, the official blog of the Administration for Children and Families. Here's what she said about the long history between the Safeline and FYSB and the importance of the national communication system:
Every year, thousands of young people--and adults who care about them--contact 1-800-RUNAWAY, the federally designated national hotline for runaway and homeless youth. Some of these teens are on the streets. Others are still at home, have had a fight with a parent, and don’t know what to do. Many know someone—an aunt or uncle, a sister or brother, a grandparent—they want to reunite with, but they don’t have the money to get to them.
A Hotline Is Born
Forty years ago, these young people would have had nowhere to turn. Then in 1974, as part of the landmark Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which established the nation’s system of youth shelters and services, the federal government established a national communication system for runaway and homeless young people.