When a runaway child returns home

Maureen Blaha, Executive Director of the National Runaway Switchboard, shares advice for parents on how to best respond when their runaway child returns home
What To Do When Your Runaway Child Returns Home
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When a runaway child returns home

It's a very difficult situation for a family when there's been a runaway episode and when the child returns home. For many parents, their first reaction is to be really angry and to lash out at their child. We would recommend that not happen. Instead, be happy that your child is home and that your child is safe. Think about getting medical attention, especially depending on how long your child has been away from home. Make followup calls to anybody that you had called saying, "My child is away from home. If you see her, let me know. Help me find her." Let people know that your child has returned home. The most important thing is to help mend the situation in the family. Ultimately, parents will have to have the hard discussion with their child to discuss what caused the runaway episode. Look for assistance in your community. Perhaps it would be family counseling that would help that family to mend, so that runaway episode never happens again. Parents can call 1-800-runaway to get the listing of resources in their community to help that family mend.
TEEN, Parenting Teens, At Risk Youth

Maureen Blaha, Executive Director of the National Runaway Switchboard, shares advice for parents on how to best respond when their runaway child returns home


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Maureen Blaha

NRS Executive Director

Maureen Blaha is the executive director of the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), the federally-designated national communication system for runaway and homeless youth.  Under her leadership the visibility of NRS and awareness of its 1-800-RUNAWAY hotline has grown, while support has steadily increased in both personnel and finances. Several key accomplishments have been realized during Blaha’s tenure including: a program focused on runaway prevention called Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum; a comprehensive trend data report of crisis calls to 1-800-RUNAWAY used to educate and raise awareness about the runaway crisis in America; “Runaway Youth Longitudinal Study 2011” research that identifies the long-term effects of running away as a youth, which can be used to better educate and encourage parents, teachers and other adults to get involved, address the issues, and ultimately prevent a runaway situation; and National Runaway Prevention Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the issues facing runaway youth and to educate youth, families and the public about resources available to prevent youth from running away.  Additionally, Blaha has been a featured speaker of the Special Victims Assistance Unit for the FBI (2005 and 2010), was invited to speak to UK parliament to help launch The Children's Society of England's national Safe and Sound Campaign (2005), and represented the runaway population at the groundbreaking White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children (2002).  Blaha was selected as the recipient of the CASA of Cook County 2010 Spirit Award and selected to participate in the Laura and John Arnold Giving Library for high-end donors. Blaha serves on the Interstate Commission for Juveniles, appointed in 2009. 

At Risk Youth, At Risk Youth
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