Alone Without a Home: Homeless Runaway Youths
Across the country, there are children who leave home to avoid the dangers of home only to face the dangers of living on the streets. For some the urge to leave is short lived and they return home. For others it can be a lifetime of struggle as the situation they once thought was a good solution suddenly becomes a never ending nightmare as they fight to survive and face the harsh reality that they have no place to turn to.
Homeless runaway youth are on the rise in the US and is a serious issue. One in seven youth between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away and never return (National Runaway Switchboard, 2010). A homeless runaway youth refers to those individuals under the age of 18 that are unaccompanied who has left the care of his or her parents or guardian without permission and lack the parental, foster, or intuitional care to live on their own. This can also refer to the individuals who are thrown out of their home by their parents. It estimate there are 1.3 million homeless, and runaway youths living unsupervised on the streets in abandoned buildings, in shelters, transitional housing, with friends, or with strangers according to the National Runaway Switchboard (2010).
Such issues as family dysfunction or economic instability can cause some youths to become homeless but many youths leave home for different reasons. Often youths will runaway to get away from strenuous relationships such as physical and sexual abuse parental neglect or addiction of a family member. Some youths become homeless as result of being encouraged by their parents to leave. Normally during disruptive family conditions, a situation in which an angry parent intentionally forces their child out on the streets is the main reason why young people decide to leave home.
According to a study conducted by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) a bureau within the Administration of Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), more than half of the youth interviewed were told by their adult caretaker to leave or knew they were leaving and did not care (1995). Other contributing factors to homelessness among youth are lack of affordable housing, low education levels, unemployment and even mental health disablities. Homelessness among youth can also be the cause of a youth being discharged from foster care or juvenile detention and treatment facilities and them being unable to find affordable, stable housing.
The fact is that regardless of how the child became homeless they are inadequate to survive on their own on the streets. There are many dangers and challenges that can arise and cause more problems for them. They are at significant risk of violence, crime, drugs, prostitution, HIV and other STDs, and other health problems (Pergamit & Ernst, 2010). Instead of finding the refuge they seek, once on the street they are further exposed to a multitude of risks including rape, sexual victimization, prostitution, and...