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What to do if a Teen Runs Away
Here’s what to do if your child runs away.
We understand kids and teens sometimes run away. It is a stressful situation and can be hard to know where to start once you realize your child has run away from home. We are here to help you figure out your next steps.
It’s important to remember that your child running away may not have anything to do with you or your parenting style. It also doesn’t mean your child is a “bad kid”. Try to avoid blaming yourself. Instead, try to understand the best steps you can take now and how to prevent it from happening again. The Texas Youth Helpline is here to talk you through it.
It’s never too early to report a missing child.
If you suspect your child has run away or is missing due to foul play, call your local police department immediately. Police department procedures may vary, but you can request that they enter your child’s information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) missing persons file. If you have questions on how to proceed, contact us and one of our advocates can help walk you through what to do.
Call, text, or chat anytime
Try to get in touch with them
Leave voice mails and get in contact with their friends and their friends' parents. Ask for their help in trying to locate your child. Keep your phone on or near you at all times in case your child tries to call you. Also, call our hotline to see if your child has left a message with our confidential message service. It’s free for youth and parents to use this service to communicate with each other.
What to do when they come home
Give each other space, get some rest, and come back to talk about what happened once you have both had a chance to cool down. Listen to your child and their reasons for deciding to leave home and try to understand where they are coming from. The Texas Youth Helpline can help find a low cost or free counselor for you and your child so you can work through your issues and try to prevent future runaways.