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How to Help a Runaway Child

If you ever meet a runaway child in your community, it may be difficult to know how to help them. Many may have run away from abusive environments, or for personal reasons. Runaway children are more vulnerable to being victimized through gang recruitment, drug and/or alcohol use issues, homelessness, and sexual exploitation. It is important to protect these children, offer them the support and assistance they need, and find them a safe place to live.

If you come across a child or youth who is a runaway:

  1. Call the local police.

  2. Call at 1-866-KID-TIPS or report a tip/sighting here.

  3. Check our Missing Children Database to see if you recognize the child from a missing report.

  4. Get in touch with a child welfare agency in your community.

  5. Search the phone book for community organizations that provide safe housing, shelter, food or clothing to those in need.

  6. Do not take it upon yourself to provide a safe haven for the runaway child. Although the child may have valid reasons for leaving home it is important to allow the proper authorities to handle the situation.

  7. If you have come across or know of someone who is harbouring runaway youth, call law enforcement immediately. This person may be harming and taking advantage of these vulnerable youth – not helping them.

Unfortunately there are individuals who can sense the vulnerability of runaway youth and may seek to exploit them. It is important that we do not allow this to happen, and support runaway children the best we can. We need to let these youth know that they are not alone, that there are people who care about them, and that they can get help.

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