Runaway Shelters for Troubled Teens

How These Programs Can Help When a Teen Runs Away from Home

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A troubled teen who makes the decision to run away from home creates significant heartbreak and worry for their parents. When running away is a problem, runaway shelters may help provide a solution.

These shelters are designed to help teens who have run away and can provide assistance to parents in helping a teen transition back home.

What is a Teen Runaway Shelter?

Runaway shelters and programs for teens provide temporary housing, food and specialized counseling to troubled teens who run away from home.

They provide a safe place for teens to face and confront their problems versus running away and avoiding them.

They also assist families in identifying the reasons a teen chose to leave. Shelters will help families determine the next steps necessary for dealing with these issues.

Services Provided by Runaway Shelters

The overall goal of shelters for runaways is to assist in re-uniting families. They do this by primarily trying to resolve (or simply identify) the problems that motivated your teen to run away. It is an effort to help ensure that they don't run away again.

Temporary shelters can provide a place for your teen to live while dealing with the reasons for running and the consequences of their decision to do so.

Runaway shelters provide some or all of the following services:

  • Regular meals.
  • Group therapy with other teens in similar situations.
  • Counseling by phone for teens who call in.
  • Resources for work, academic, medical and other needs.
  • Family therapy focused on dealing with the crisis caused by the teen leaving.

How Runaway Shelters Can Help

When a teen agrees to go to a runaway shelter, they make a healthy decision to seek support and start taking responsibility to resolve the problems they are experiencing.

Runaway shelters are established and run by staff trained to understand, work with and advocate for teens who run from problems or difficult family situations.

Shelters can assist in this family crisis by helping to:

  • Identify the problems causing the teen to run.
  • Be an intermediary to help understand why your teen ran away.
  • Work out an initial contract outlining the conditions a teen needs to follow once returning home.
  • Discuss alternative living situations for the teen while problems get worked out.
  • Provide referrals to family therapists in your area.
  • Offer direction to a variety of resources to assist your teen with the problems they are having.
  • Determine the next steps to deal with the problems your teen is running away from.

How to Locate a Shelter in Your Area

To help locate a runaway shelter, call the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY anytime. You can also search online for a listing of shelters in your area.

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