Des Moines, Iowa – A report from the National Runaway Safeline shows a dramatic decrease in the number of Iowans calling in — both young people and concerned parents. Last year, 281 Iowans called the Runaway Safeline, a big drop from 566 calls the previous year. Maureen Blaha, executive director of the service, says conflict in the home is the primary reason most callers reach out.
The reason for the drop in calls from Iowa is unclear, but one official says it may simply equate to fewer teens on the run in Iowa and happier families. The average caller to the Safeline is 17 years old and female. While equal numbers of boys and girls run away, Blaha says girls are more apt to reach out for help.
While the Safeline primarily targets young people, plenty of parents call in as well. Blaha says there are signs moms and dads can be on the lookout for which may be a clue their child is considering the drastic move.
Other signs include: stockpiling of possessions or money and making threats to leave. As many as 2.8 million youth run away each year. If all of them lived in one city, it would be the fifth-largest city in the United States. The Chicago-based Safeline is available around the clock at 1-800-RUNAWAY or online at 1800RUNAWAY.org.