ran away from home when she was fourteen. There was a family disagreement and she told us she was going to go hang out with
some friends until she calmed down. When she didn’t come home that evening, we were worried, but not panicked. We figured
she was with her friend and so, safe. BUT WE DIDN’T HAVE THAT FRIEND’S PHONE NUMBER OR PARENT’S LAST NAME
SO WE COULDN’T CHECK UP ON HER.
hadn’t returned home by mid-morning the next day, my husband Charlie went down to the police station (or as we call
it here in our small town, the “cop shop”) to report her as a run away. While he was filling out the papers, the
phone rang. The officer who answered it told Charlie it was our daughter. She had turned herself in after spending a sleepless,
frightened night in the park…the Greeley, Colorado Park 170 miles away from home. Our
daughter wanted to come home. Charlie drove to Greeley and picked her up
are few fears as overwhelming as the fear a parent gets when his child runs away. Is the child sleeping in a park? Did he
or she hitch hike? Is she “on the streets” without food or shelter?
- First, remember: running away is not, in itself, a crime. BUT the first 48 hours is the most important
time with a runaway. REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY. Call 911.
- Realize, though, that the police don’t have to investigate immediately. In a small town, where
the cops spend a lot of time driving around looking for things to do, they may start looking for your child right away, but
in a larger city, your runaway will not be their top priority UNLESS they’re under 13 or mentally or physically disabled.
- Do NOT ask law enforcement to put out an “Amber Alert.” This is for a specific kind of
missing child case, and they will initiate it if it is indicated.
- Call around to your child’s friends. (NOTE: if you do not know who your child’s friends
are, why not start a notebook with names, addresses and phone numbers right now, before you need it?)
- Search your child’s room. (Okay, it’s an invasion of privacy, but you might find phone
numbers, pictures etc. which could give you an idea of where he went. If your child has a My Space account or email, check
that. What? You don’t have the password?)
- Find out if any of your child’s friends are missing. Don’t know who your child’s
friends are? Refer to #4.
- Contact Missing Children Hotlines like the National Runaway Switchboard
- Locate a picture of your child that could be used in a search.
seven kids between 10 and 18 will run away, according to some statistics. Over 70% are gone less than a week. Only 7% are
missing a month or more. The odds are in your favor. DON’T PANIC
child comes home, try to explore the reasons he or she left. “I don’t know,” is NOT an acceptable answer.
If you can’t establish open communication with your child, SEEK FAMILY COUNSELING.
kids are different than they were when most Beyonders were kids. They are less self-reliant, but more mobile and street savvy.
What worked to motivate you when you were a teen will probably not work now. And there are new trends and lingo evolving every
day. KEEP INVOLVED AND
“UPDATE YOUR FILES” frequently. You can’t talk to a kid if you don’t speak his language.