A runaway is a minor or (depending upon the local jurisdiction) a person under a specified age, who has left their parents or legal guardians without permission. Statistics show that females are more likely to run away than males.
Current studies suggest that the primary cause of youth homelessness is family dysfunction in the form of parental neglect, physical or sexual abuse, family substance abuse, and family violence.Nearly half of runaway youths report that at least one of their parents struggles with alcohol addiction, and at least one third reported a parent struggling with drug addiction.
Studies also show that 89% of child runaways were encouraged to do so by their peers.
Runaways have an elevated risk of destructive behavior. Approximately fifty percent of runaways experience difficulties with schooling; including dropping out, expulsion, or suspension.Running away can increase the risk of delinquency for adolescents, and expose them to the risk of victimization. There have been many studies in multiple countries about "street children"—youth who have run away and are presently homeless—showing that they have a high risk of taking illicit drugs, developing sexually transmitted infections (STI's), unintended pregnancy, depression, suicide attempts, and sexual exploitation. Greater proportions of runaway youths experience clinically significant posttraumatic stress disorder than normative youths. Trauma generally begins with runaway youth's experiences within the family and is increased by prolonged traumatic events. The likelihood of depression among female runaways is related to family conflict and communication. Depression in male runaways is typically related to paternal alcohol abuse and family relationships. Negative interactions in relationships within the family appear to greatly influence depressive symptoms for both genders.
In Hong Kong, 51.1 percent of at-risk youth identified by social workers have been a runaway during the age range of 11 to 18.
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Approximately 47 million runaway and homeless adolescents are estimated to be on the streets of India.Studies have shown a higher prevalence of adolescent boys running away than adolescent girls.
Familial respect is important in India. Much of the Indian runaway population describes themselves as young people doing everything right at home, but having received harsh treatment from family members all throughout life.Mistreatment consists of anything from favoring one child over another to extreme abuse.
Love causes many female adolescents in India to run away from home. While neglectful home lives are the leading cause for running away, often underage women will flee home to marry a significant other. In many parts of India, marriages are prearranged. The disapproval of the intended partner can result in young women running away from their families to marry their true loves.
If caught, young women who run away from home will be returned to their male relatives. Refusal to return home will result in her being escorted to Nari Sanrakshan Gruh, the Women's Protection Center or Women's Home for short, in a nearby city. Families are also likely to refuse to speak to the child, disown them, or to physically injure the young woman or her romantic partners (only in rural area).
In many cases if the eloping couple is caught then the boy faces a rape charge from the girl's parents (rural area); this issue has been cited by various social activists.
Social control theory describes the runaway situation in China. Adolescent friendships can interfere with positive influences parents place in the adolescent's life. According to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, approximately 150,000 runaway children and youth were documented in 2006.Unrealistic expectations of school has caused many adolescents to run away. Many runaways are low achievers who reported they were constantly criticized by their teachers and experienced their teachers indifferent attitude toward them. Overbearing parents authoritarian, overprotective, and neglectful styles have led to adolescents running away.
In the United States, a runaway is a minor or a child/youth who leaves home without permission and stays away either overnight (under 14 years old or older and mentally incompetent) or away from home two nights (15 or over) and chooses not to come home when expected to return.A runaway is different from child abandonment or a "throwaway" youth. Runaway youth are evenly divided male and female, although girls are more likely to seek help through shelters and hotlines. In the US, runaway children or youth are widely regarded as a chronic and serious social problem. It is estimated that each year there are between 1.3 and 1.5 million runaway and homeless youth in the United States (Coco & Courtney, 1998; Cauce et al., 1994).
Running away from home is considered a crime in some jurisdictions, but it is usually a status offense punished with probation, or not punished at all.Giving aid or assistance to a runaway instead of turning them in to the police is a more serious crime called "harboring a runaway", and is typically a misdemeanor. The law can vary considerably from one jurisdiction to another; in the United States there is a different law in every state. A 2003 FBI study showed that there were 123,581 arrests for runaway youths in the United States.
The Family and Youth Services Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds grant programs to help runaway and homeless youth. The organization also provides funding for the National Runaway Switchboard, a national hotline for runaway youth, youth who are thinking about running away or are in crisis, parents, and other concerned adults.
Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood. Adolescence is usually associated with the teenage years, but its physical, psychological or cultural expressions may begin earlier and end later. For example, puberty now typically begins during preadolescence, particularly in females. Physical growth and cognitive development can extend into the early twenties. Thus, age provides only a rough marker of adolescence, and scholars have found it difficult to agree upon a precise definition of adolescence.
The suicide rate in the United States remains comparatively high for the 15 to 24 age group with 5,079 suicides in this age range in 2014, making it the second leading cause of death for that age range. By comparison, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for all those aged 10 and over, with 33,289 suicides for all US citizens in 2006.
Street children are poor or homeless children who live on the streets of a city, town, or village. Homeless youth are often called street kids or street child; the definition of street children is contested, but many practitioners and policymakers use UNICEF's concept of boys and girls, aged under 18 years, for whom "the street" has become home and/or their source of livelihood, and who are inadequately protected or supervised. Street girls are sometimes called gamines, a term that is also used for Colombian street children of either sex.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is listed in the DSM-5 under Disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders and defined as "a pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness" in children and adolescents. Unlike children with conduct disorder (CD), children with oppositional defiant disorder are not aggressive towards people or animals, do not destroy property, and do not show a pattern of theft or deceit.
Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, and/or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or a caregiver. Child abuse may include any act or failure to act by a parent or a caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child, and can occur in a child's home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with.
The National Runaway Safeline is the national communications system designated by the United States federal government for runaway and homeless youth, their parents and families, teens in crisis, and others who might benefit from its services. It is confidential, anonymous, non-judgmental, non-directive, and free. The hotline number is 1-800-RUNAWAY. Calls are answered every day of the year, 24 hours a day.
Substance Abuse Prevention, also known as drug abuse prevention, is a process that attempts to prevent the onset of substance use or limit the development of problems associated with using psychoactive's substances. Prevention efforts may focus on the individual or their surroundings. A concept known as "environmental prevention" focuses on changing community conditions or policies so that the availability of substances is reduced as well as the demand.
Youth suicide is when a young person, generally categorized as someone below the legal age of majority, deliberately ends their own life. Rates of attempted and completed youth suicide in Western societies and other countries are high. Youth suicide attempts are more common among girls, but adolescent males are the ones who usually carry out suicide. Suicide rates in youths have nearly tripled between the 1960s and 1980s. For example, in Australia suicide is second only to motor vehicle accidents as its leading cause of death for people aged 15–25, and according to the National Institute for Mental Health, suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens in the United States.
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by prolonged unhappiness or irritability, accompanied by a constellation of somatic and cognitive signs and symptoms such as fatigue, apathy, sleep problems, or loss of appetite; low self-regard or worthlessness; difficulty concentrating or indecisiveness; or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. Depression in childhood and adolescence is similar to adult major depressive disorder, although young sufferers may exhibit increased irritability or behavioral dyscontrol instead of the more common sad, empty, or hopeless feelings seen with adults. Children who are under stress, experiencing loss, have attention, learning, behavioral, or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression. Childhood depression is often comorbid with mental disorders outside of other mood disorders; most commonly anxiety disorder and conduct disorder. Depression also tends to run in families. In a 2016 Cochrane review cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), third wave CBT and interpersonal therapy demonstrated small positive benefits in the prevention of depression. Psychologists have developed different treatments to assist children and adolescents suffering from depression, though the legitimacy of the diagnosis of childhood depression as a psychiatric disorder, as well as the efficacy of various methods of assessment and treatment, remains controversial.
Transgender youth are children or adolescents who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Because transgender youth are usually dependent on their parents for care, shelter, financial support, and other needs, and because most doctors are reluctant to provide medical treatments to them, transgender youth face different challenges compared to adults. There is a broad consensus among experts and professional associations that appropriate care may include supportive mental health care, social transition, and puberty blockers, which delay puberty and the development of secondary sex characteristics to give children time to make decisions about more permanent courses of action. Questions have been raised regarding the morality of allowing children to transition and whether or not children can give informed consent for transitioning, as there are permanent ramifications from hormone therapy, and most children with gender dysphoria end up identifying with their biological sex after reaching puberty.
Child neglect, often overlooked, is the most common form of child maltreatment. Most perpetrators of child abuse and neglect are the parents themselves. A total of 79.4% of the perpetrators of abused and neglected children are the parents of the victims, and of those 79.4% parents, 61% exclusively neglect their children. The physical, emotional, and cognitive developmental impacts from child neglect in early childhood can be detrimental, as the effects from the neglect can carry on into adulthood.
Survival sex is a form of prostitution engaged in by a person because of their extreme need. It describes the practice of people who are homeless or otherwise disadvantaged in society, trading sex for food, a place to sleep, or other basic needs, or for drugs. The term is used by sex trade, poverty researchers, and aid workers.
A street child is a child "for whom the street has become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood; and who is inadequately protected, supervised, or directed by responsible adults".
Spirituality affects both mental and physical health outcomes in the general United States population across different ethnic groups. Because of the nuanced definitions of spirituality and religiosity, the literature on spirituality is not consistent in definitions or measures resulting in a lack of coherence. However, taken as a whole, research tends to show that the effect of spirituality is positive, associated with better health outcomes. For those who engage in spirituality, it may serve as a buffer from negative life events, often moderating the relationship between negative life experiences and levels of anxiety or depression. The exception is when negative spiritual coping is practiced. This type of coping has negative health implications.
Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor with the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. Rotheram is the professor-in-residence in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She is the Director of the Global Center for Children and Families at UCLA and the former director of the Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services.
Research shows that a disproportionate number of homeless youth in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or LGBT. Researchers suggest that this is primarily a result of hostility or abuse from the young people's families leading to eviction or running away. In addition, LGBT youth are often at greater risk for certain dangers while homeless, including being the victims of crime, risky sexual behavior, substance abuse and mental health concerns.
Suicide among Native Americans in the United States, both attempted and completed, is more prevalent than in any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. Among American youths specifically, Native American youths also show higher rates of suicide than American youths of other races. Despite making up only 0.9% of the total United States population, American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) are a significantly heterogeneous group, with 560 federally recognized tribes, more than 200 non-federally recognized tribes, more than 300 languages spoken, and one half or more of them living in urban areas. Suicide rates are likewise variable within AIAN communities. Reported rates range from 0 to 150 per 100,000 members of the population for different groups. Native American men are more likely to commit suicide than Native American women, but Native American women show a higher prevalence of suicidal behaviors. Interpersonal relationships, community environment, spirituality, mental healthcare, and alcohol abuse interventions are among subjects of studies about the effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts. David Lester calls attention to the existence and importance of theories of suicide developed by indigenous peoples themselves, and notes that they "can challenge traditional Western theories of suicide." Studies by Olson and Wahab as well as Doll and Brady report that the Indian Health Service has lacked the resources needed to sufficiently address mental health problems in Native American communities. The most complete records of suicide among Native Americans in the United States are reported by the Indian Health Service.
The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) is a division of the US Executive Branch under the Administration for Children and Families and the Department of Health and Human Services. The FYSB's primary purpose is to support programs for at-risk youth and their families.
Deborah M. Capaldi is a developmental psychologist known for her research on at-risk male youth and the intergenerational transmission of substance use, antisocial behavior, intimate partner violence, and child abuse. She is a senior scientist at the Oregon Social Learning Center. Her current projects focus on child exposure to family violence and parenting practices of at-risk parents.
Out-of-home placements are an alternative form of care when children must be removed from their homes. Children who are placed out of the home differ in the types and severity of maltreatment experienced compared to children who remain in the home. One-half to two-thirds of youth have experienced a traumatic event leading to increased awareness and growing literature on the impact of trauma on youth. The most common reasons for out-of-home placements are due to physical or sexual abuse, violence, and neglect. Youth who are at risk in their own homes for abuse, neglect, or maltreatment, as well as youth with severe emotional and behavior issues, are placed out of the home with extended family and friends, foster care, or in residential facilities. Out-of-home placements aim to provide children with safety and stability. This temporary, safe environment allows youth to have their physical, mental, moral, and social needs met. However, these youth are in a vulnerable position for experiencing repeated abuse and neglect.