Did you leave home? Were you going through a difficult time? Are you ready to return but don’t know how to approach it with your family or even how you will make it back?
You are not alone. Thousands of youth have been in the same situation. Thanks to the National Runaway Safeline’s Home Free Program, in collaboration with Greyhound Lines, Inc., more than 14,000 youth have been reunited with family members free of charge. The first step to begin the Home Free process is to call 1-800-RUNAWAY.
You must be between the ages of 12-20. If you are under 18, you will be asked if there is a runaway report filed in your hometown. If you don’t know what a runaway report is, or are unsure if one has been filed, call 1-800-RUNAWAY. We can explain.
Generally, youth up to age 18 must be returning to a parent or legal guardian. Youth 18-20 may return to either family, or a transitional living program. NRS recognizes, though, that supportive living environments exist for youth outside of the nuclear family. Therefore, in situations where the parent or legal guardian reunification cannot happen, youth may be provided with a bus ticket to an alternative living arrangement (ALA). In order to receive a bus ticket to an ALA, legal guardians must give approval and be involved in every step of the Home Free process. For more information about whether you qualify or where you can go, please call 1-800-RUNAWAY.
The process starts when you call the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We talk to you about your situation and any issues surrounding returning home. Next, we facilitate a conference call between you and your legal guardian to talk about your return and determine a plan of action. As a final step, we contact Greyhound to make travel arrangements and share the travel itinerary with you and your family.
Home Free isn’t just a bus ticket home. We want you to be safe, and once home, equipped to address issues that may have led, or contributed, to your decision to leave. We also want to help you in rebuilding relationships with family and friends and develop connections with positive and caring adults. In addition to working with you and your guardians to develop a plan before you return home, we also provide you with resources in your community that can help with ongoing support once you return. After you are scheduled to have arrived at home, we follow-up to make sure you’ve arrived safely and to see how things are going. If necessary, we can provide you the names of other resources in your community to help you continue making healthy choices.