Part of our Counselor’s Corner series. Click to read other posts in the Counselor’s Corner.
National Runaway Prevention Month, which is hosted in November, was created to shed light on the staggering statistics related to runaway kids. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an estimated 1.6 million kids run away each year in the United States. The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) reports that approximately 550,000 unaccompanied children and teens experience homelessness each year.
The National Runaway Safeline has tons of information and resources for kids, parents, and educators. Here are some highlights of the information and resources available.
The National Runaway Safeline offers free bus transportation home through Greyhound Bus Lines to runaway children ages 12 to 20. This service, called Home Free, can be initiated by calling the National Runaway Safeline, 800-RUNAWAY. The Runaway Safeline facilitates a conversation with the parent/guardian or arranges for an Alternative Living Arrangement (ALA) for the child. More information about the Home Free program can be found here.
The National Runaway Safeline website has a wealth of information and tips for parents on everything from dealing with stress to communicating with your child. There is a link to videos containing Parenting Tips from Maureen Blaha, the NRS executive director. Some topics include “How long do runaways stay away?” and “Warning signs that your child is considering running away.” Access the NRS parenting tips and advice here.
Runaway Prevention Curriculum
The National Runaway Safeline has a free curriculum available for download called Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum. A companion video for the curriculum outlines the services offered by NRS and reasons kids decide to run away.
Ways to Spread Awareness
The NRS gives suggestions of 10 ways you can make a difference during National Runaway Prevention Month. Participate in a national event, such as organizing a Wear Green Day on November 14 to raise awareness. You can also create your own local event by, for example, hosting a book discussion or showing a movie related to runaway kids and the challenges they face that lead them to run away. The NRS shares links to books and media with themes related to runaway kids.
How will you spread awareness about National Runaway Prevention Month and the services the National Runaway Safeline offers?
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