Youth reach out to the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) every day. They are dealing with a crisis. They are seeking help. But who are they?

NRS' Crisis Contact Report on Youth and Teenage Runaways for 2016Although NRS is a confidential service, the crisis services center tracks contacts’ demographic information, such as; age, gender,the type of crisis, the youth’s status at the time of the connection and other pertinent data that builds an understanding of what youth are confronting. Annually, NRS provides the statistics from this data collection for the public in the crisis services statistics section of the website.  Biannually, NRS contracts with a researcher to produce a trends analysis comparing over fifteen years of data.  In 2017, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, NRS’ funding partner, produced a crisis contact report looking at the 2016 data.

From the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program  Family and Youth Services Bureau Crisis Contacts Report:

Behind each contact is a young person who is scared or worried or feels like they are out of options —but who had the courage to ask for help and, with NRS’  help, make a plan to get to a safe  place.”

Some of the main observations the Crisis Contact report contains are highlighted below.

The vast majority of those who contact NRS are youth (74%). Connections include calls, emails, online forum posts and chat messages. NRS also receives connections with parents, guardians, relatives, and other agencies.

Contact Relationship | Teenage Runaways Facts and Figures


Most were between the ages of fifteen and eighteen (72%).

Age of Contact with NRS | Teenage Runaways Facts and Figures

The majority of contacts (67%) found NRS through the internet. The data indicate a continuing trend of youth contacting NRS via digital channels, which also includes social media. This helps NRS’ crisis services center to prioritize its resources towards NRS’ digital channels.

How Contacts Learned About NRS | Teenage Runaway Facts and Figures

Youth who contacted NRS did so during a time when they were dealing with a crisis (36%) or contemplating running away (35%).

Most were female (71%).

Most were contacting NRS from their home (50%).  This indicates that youth are choosing to seek out help before deciding to run away and that NRS is helping more youth before they put themselves in unsafe situations on the streets.

Whereabouts of Contacts | Teenage Runaway Facts and Figures

Most were dealing with issues related to family dynamics (35% of issues reported). 

How NRS Helped.

  • Of the 29,000+ contacts of youth, NRS gave nearly 22,000 referrals to resources around the nation.
  • 2,400+ conference calls between youth and agencies were facilitated.
  • Nearly 500 conference calls between youth and parents were arranged.
  • Almost 400 Home Free tickets on Greyhound Bus were issued.

How NRS Helped Youth and Teenage Runaways

Download the full report here.

Interested in helping NRS’ mission?

Learn more about volunteering through our online volunteer orientation!


Sign Up for Our Newsletter