Somewhere between 1.5 and 2.6 million youth runaway from home each year and National Runaway Safeline (NRS) is there to help them and the people who care about them. NRS has a staff of 24, 19 board members, and more than 120 trained volunteers working to provide callers with crisis services – to talk through problems and connect them with local resources for food, shelter, transportation, medical help, and counseling. The NRS is always available to listen and help, 24/7/365.
The majority of youth who contact NRS cite uncomfortable, unfair, or unsafe family situations as their reason for calling. Often the situation becomes a crisis and kids will leave without a plan, which can place them in even greater danger on the streets.
NRS provides an array of crisis intervention services to help youth who have or are thinking about running away. Services include:
- Information and Referrals to connect youth with the services they need wherever they are in the US.
- Conference Calls to facilitate calls between youth and their family, remaining on the call as an active advocate on behalf of the youth.
- Message Service to relay messages between youth and their families when direct communication is not yet an option. Parents and guardians may also access the system to leave a message for their child.
- Home Free provides free Greyhound bus tickets, helping more than 17,000 runaway youth reunite with their families .
- Online Resources at 1800Runaway.org provides crisis intervention, through direct chats, email, forums in addition to providing critical information to the wider community.
NRS, located in Chicago, is supported by funding from individual donors, foundations and a federal grant from the department of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NRS was previously known as the National Runaway Switchboard and was originally founded in 1971 as Metro Help.