November Is National Runaway Prevention Month

Learn How to Help Keep Americas Runaway and At-Risk Youth Safe and off the Streets Every year between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away from their homes. There is no easy way to define what a runaway looks like they can be male or female and range in age and hometown. National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM) is an annual national public education campaign to raise awareness of youth runaway issues, and to educate Americans about solutions that help prevent youth from running away.

NRPM is co-sponsored by the National Runaway Switchboard (NRS) and the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) with several national social service/educational organization partners. NRS has one mission to keep Americas runaway and at-risk youth safe and off the street. Through its crisis hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY, NRS handles more than 100,000 calls each year. Calling 1-800-RUNAWAY to receive help is an important step for a youth in crisis, a concerned parent or someone who cares about a youth. The hotline has experienced more than a 50 percent increase in calls to its hotline from a year ago, and the number of visitors to its website has increased more than 60 percent, with significant increases occurring since a partnership formed with music icon Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and The Ludacris Foundation.

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Maureen Blaha is the executive director of the National Runaway Switchboard, a position she has held since November 2000. The organization has made great strides under her leadership the visibility of NRS has grown, and support has increased in both personnel (33 percent more volunteers) and finances (an increased budget of 32 percent). Also under Blahas leadership, NRS co-created National Runaway Prevention Month. During this interview Maureen will discuss why youth run away from home, provide advice for parents having a difficult time with their child, talk about alternatives for children who are thinking about running away from home and explain why the hotline is so important.