Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego County record a third of California’s runawasys
SANTA MONICA – Every year, an average of 16,000 children — categorized as anyone under the age of 18 — are reported as runaways in Los Angeles County. In Riverside County alone, almost 5,000 runaway children were reported last year. While in San Diego County, according to the California Department of Justice, there were over 4,000 runaways.
Runaways are not limited to any one place. The Southern California counties of Riverside, San Diego and Los Angeles constitute one-third of California’s total runaways. But what would make a child run away, especially in one of the largest cities in the nation?
Children runaway for a variety of reasons. Probably the biggest reason is abuse that takes place in the home. The abuse can be either personal or the abuse of another family member. From physical to sexual to even the misuse of a substance, a child may grow tired or afraid of the situation they’re currently living in and feel like it would be safer on their own. Kids health explains the situation by stating, “Sometimes a really big problem can make it seem like running away is the only choice.”
Many of the reasons a child runs all point to down to a child stuck in a situation or environment that makes the child feel like there is no control or stability in their life. The instability creates a stressful situation for the child. While a home environment should help combat some of those things, occasionally the home may be dealing with hard situations such as a separation, an unexpected death, or addiction. Teaching children to “deal with problems with confidence, hope, and practical solutions [will help make] kids less likely to run away.”
However, creating a home life that encourages open and safe conversations can help children cope with stressful situations while young and into their adult lives. Pumpic reminds parents to prevent the situation to “always be attentive to your child, show them that you understand their worries and feelings” and “always love and care for them.” Children can be more perceptive to situations going on at home than realized and need help being guided through the hard times rather than left on their own to cope with their feelings.