*Please note: We are experiencing longer wait times for calls and chats at the moment. In order to keep your place in line, please do not hang up your call or disconnect your chat. Our next available team member will connect with you as soon as possible. Thank you!
- We'll listen to your story.
- Your information is confidential.
- You'll get reliable support.
We are here to support you.
We don’t judge.
You can expect to share your story with someone who won’t judge or tell you what to do.
We’re trained to help you.
Each team member has been trained to handle a crisis, provide support and listen to your story.
We respect your privacy.
We won’t pry.
When telling your story, you choose what information to share.
Our conversation is personal and private.
Although we won’t share your story, if someone is hurting you and you give identifying information, we are required by law to report it -but remember the decision is yours to give us that information.
Immediate assistance is available 24/7/365.
Four ways to connect.
Call 1-800-RUNAWAY. Or use the online services to chat, email, or post on the forum.
Experience helping people just like you.
Each frontline team member has over 40 hours of crisis intervention training.
Reach out to us in a way that works best for you. We are here to listen and here to help.
Things to consider
You may be struggling with deciding whether to leave your home. It can be a difficult decision. As a helpful next step, we encourage you to sit down and think about how you would answer these questions:
- Do I have a place to stay?
- What about school? Would I continue to get an education?
- Am I going to be gone awhile or coming back in a few days?
- What would I do for money? Shelter? Food? Transportation?
- Who can I depend on if I leave home?
- Do I have a safe, solid plan?
- What is my plan b in case my first plan doesn’t work?
- What have I done to make things better at home?
- What can I do to make things better at home?
- Who have I reached out to make things better at home?
Did you leave home? 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. Thanks to our Home Free Program, in collaboration with Greyhound Lines, Inc., more than 17,000 youth have been reunited with family members free of charge. The first step to begin the Home Free process is to call 1-800-786-2929. If you’re not quite ready to call, check out some more information about our Home Free program below.
Getting A Bus Ticket Home
How do I know if I qualify?
You must be between the ages of 12-21. 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.
Am I limited to where I can go on the free ticket?
Generally, youth up to age 18 must be returning to a parent or legal guardian. Youth 18-21 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 1-800-786-2929.
How can I get the ticket?
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. What happens after the ticket is booked? 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.
Find a Shelter
Whether you are thinking of leaving home or have already left, NRS can help you find a safe place to stay. NRS has a database of resources, including shelters, across the country that we continually update. When you contact us, either by hotline, chat, or email, we can work toward locating an open bed in a shelter in your area. When contacting shelters via telephone, a frontline staff member will be happy to stay on the phone and serve as an advocate for you if you want him/her to. If, for whatever reason, we cannot find you a place in a shelter right away, we will work with you to explore different options for safe places to stay.
Abuse at Home
If home is no longer somewhere you feel safe, NRS is here to help. Just like any other call/ chat/ email/ forum post, NRS’ frontline staff is here to listen to what has been going on in your life and help you explore your options. Though NRS’ frontline staffers are mandated reporters, we understand that reporting is not a viable option for everyone. Our frontline staffers will help you explore all of your options and further clarify our role as mandated reporters. If you do decide to file a report, NRS frontline staff can help you either by filing a report on your behalf or guiding you through the reporting process.
We are not legal experts. Laws are different from state to state, county to county, city to city. And even how a local police department responds to the situation can vary drastically. We can speak in general terms about your situation and try to find out how laws in your area will affect you. We can also call the local police department for you. We will ask your questions to get specific answers about runaway laws for your community. Remember, we are confidential so we won’t share anything about your story with the police.
If you’re interested in becoming an emancipated minor, we are able to talk generally about the emancipation process in your state. We can also connect you to a legal resource in your area to provide advice.
If you need help sharing your story with your parents, we can set-up a three way telephone conversation. We’ll stay on the line and make sure your voice is heard in a calm way. We can help you and your guardian understand each other by guiding the call. This is a way to open lines of communication.
Another way to start or improve communicating is with our message service. You can give us a message for your parent and we’ll deliver it. Having someone else deliver your message may be a less heated way to start a conversation.
When you connect with NRS, we can talk about the steps to end the bullying. No one deserves to be abused. No one should be mistreated. There are steps we can take together to stop the bullying. We are here to listen to your story and find solutions.
- Are you being bullied?
- Are you feeling unsafe at school?
- Are you feeling attacked online?
- Do you want to talk to someone about how you’re being mistreated?
- Who have you reached out to?
- Is there someone you trust at school to talk to?
- Do you know about anti-bullying measures you can take?
Some websites that might be helpful to you are listed below: