Runaway And Thrownaway Children Essay

Cheap Custom Writing Service

According to recent national incidence statistics, an estimated 1,682,900 youth, including those living in households and residential facilities, ran away or were thrown away at least once during 1999. The typical runaway or thrownaway is an older teenager (68% are between the ages of 15 and 17) who is gone less than one week (77%). Less than one in four (23%) travels a distance of 50 miles or more away from home, and only 9% leave the state.

Most runaways or thrownaways do not qualify as missing children because they either go to the homes of friends or relatives or to shelters or social service agencies whose locations are well known to their caretakers or because, particularly in the case of thrownaways, the whereabouts of the child is unknown, but the caretaker is not concerned. This lack of concern explains why only 37% of the runaway or thrownaway children were missing in 1999, but only 21% were reported missing to law enforcement. Even so, runaways or thrownaways constitute the largest component of children reported missing to authorities, accounting for almost half (45%) of all children reported missing and dwarfing the numbers who are reported missing because they are abducted, lost, or injured.

There is considerable variation in the severity and danger associated with runaway or thrownaway episodes, and the stereotype of the troubled teenager living on the streets and falling prey to pimps, drug dealers, and violent crime is one extreme of the continuum. At the other extreme are those who go to the homes of friends and relatives or shelters where they are well looked after.

Nevertheless, many runaways or thrownaways are in the company of violent, sexually exploiting, or drug-abusing companions or suffer an actual or attempted assault while away from home. The majority of runaway or thrownaways, an estimated 1,190,900 children (71% of the total), are likely to have been endangered during their episode by virtue of factors such as substance dependency, use of hard drugs, sexual or physical abuse, exposure to criminal activity, or extremely young age (13 years old or younger).

These youth need assistance far beyond simply locating their whereabouts and returning them to their homes. In fact, for some youth, such as the physically and sexually abused, being returned to their homes may increase rather than alleviate their danger. For this reason, any law enforcement response to runaway or thrownaway youth should be accompanied by a strong social service and mental health component that can attend to the child maltreatment, family conflict, substance abuse, and traumatic stress that often precipitate and complicate these episodes. Only one third (32%) of runaways or thrownaways are brought to the attention of law enforcement regardless of the reason. The relatively low level of police contact may prompt some policymakers and practitioners to urge more police reporting. However, more research is needed to determine whether families and children would benefit from greater, or even possibly less, police involvement in runaway or thrownaway episodes.


  1. Hammer, H., Sedlak, A. J., & Finkelhor, D. (2002). Runaway/thrownaway children: National estimates and characteristics. In Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention bulletin series. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

This example Runaway And Thrownaway Children Essay is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services. offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

See also:


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality

Special offer!