More Youth Reaching Out for Help Before They Run, New Report Says

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A young woman makes a telephone call.

More than half of youth who contacted the National Runaway Safeline last year were reaching out for help before getting to the point of running away from home, according to a new 10-year trend report released by the Chicago organization that runs the system. The report highlights the role the Family and Youth Services Bureau-funded hotline plays not only in linking the nation’s runaway and homeless youth and their families to nearby shelters, counseling, medical assistance, and other vital services but also in preventing youth homelessness in the first place.

According to the new report, youth in crisis who have not yet run away from home made the largest percentage (30 percent) of crisis calls and online chat requests to the system in 2014. Those contemplating running away made 24 percent of calls and chat requests. Young people who had already run away made 27 percent of calls to the hotline, and homeless youth made 13 percent of calls and chat requests.

The report compares the 2014 statistics to data from the previous year (2013), three years ago (2011), and 10 years ago (2004). According to the analysis, many more youth who are contemplating running away are connecting to the National Runaway Safeline now than in the past – a 20 percent increase over the past year and a 54 percent increase over the past three years.

Family conflict was the top issue raised by youth contacting the system in each year studied in the report. Nearly a third of youth (30 percent) brought it up in 2014.

Read the report on the National Runaway Safeline website.

More About the National Runaway Safeline

"A 40-Year Connection: How Young People Benefit From the National Communication System for Runaway and Homeless Youth"

"40 Years of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act: Maureen Blaha"

"What Can FYSB’s Network of Support for Runaway and Homeless Youth Do for You?"

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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