According to the National Runaway Switchboard, one out of every 7 children (14%) will runaway before the age of 18. There are between 1.6 and 2.8 million runaway and homeless youth living on the streets in America. Seventy-five percent of runaways who remain at large for two or more weeks will become involved in theft, drugs, or pornography. One out of every 3 teens on the street will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
The statistics are staggering, therefore when my son ran away I was frantic to find him. The police did not help out at all and there were times I hoped he would break the law so that he would be found. Our son was missing for 5 nights. The reason I say five nights we were notified at 1 AM on a Thursday that he was missing and he was found on Monday Evening by a friend of ours. The only way we found our son, was by getting the word out, passing out flyers in towns that we knew he had passed through, receiving random tips from people that had seen him and we also put a page up on the internet. OUr son did not want to be found. When we did find him he had traveled from Northern California to San Francisco. He was on the streets in the Haight-Ashbury District. Not unusual for runaway teens, the Haight is a mecca for homeless runaways.
Let me clarify, there is a difference between a runaway and someone that has been abducted. It is my understanding the law/police will help with an abduction, because the person is in danger. Runaways are not considered in danger.
The more I read about teen runaways, the more I realized that the longer he was out the harder it would be for us to find him and that he was safe. These are some websites to visit for tools and information if your teen has run away. You cannot be everywhere, therefore using the internet, email, and phones are crucial to your search.