How To Find A Runaway Teenager And Get Them Back Home

A kid around 13 to 19 years old has complex development in the body and mind. Combined with the lack of care and love from busy parents, it is now an incline for kids to run away.

So, how to find a runaway teenager is a concern for many people. This blog walks you through the main points and detailed guidelines of what you should do in such unwanted cases.

It refers to the common runaway shelters, the recommended actions, etc. Please scroll down for a comprehensive guide! 

How To Find A Runaway Teenager?

How To Find A Runaway Teenager

What Do Police Do To Find Runaways?

What Do Police Do To Find Runaways?

What do you do when your 16 year old runs away?

Calling the police is one of the effective ways that many people can think of when their kids run away. There are many ways that police officers apply to track fugitives down.

First, they will get the information of the missing kid, such as physical description, the circle of friends, usually-visited places, etc. They might also ask for the kid’s last messages or phone calls.

In addition, talking to their friends and parents can generate clues about where they are. In the case of modern cities or nations, the police can check cameras in suspected areas.

Otherwise, the police can observe and notice unusual behaviors, such as being out after curfew.

These activities are the most basic ones that we know about what police officers can do to help find delinquents. Of course, they have much more specialized ways in some tough cases.

Many movies or TV shows state that you only can call the police for a missing case after 24 – 48 hours. Yet, it is not true to the teenage runaway laws.

As soon as you find your kid missing or run away, you should report to the nearest police station.

The dangerous situation doesn’t wait for our preparation, so timely actions matter every second! 

Where Do Runaways Usually Go?

Where Do Runaways Usually Go?

When putting ourselves into the runaways’ shoes, it dawns on us that they do walk on the street without any destination in their mind!

So, their usual runaway shelters can be their friend’s or relatives’ houses.

Yet, there are still some cases of lonely or depressing fugitives who have no intention of places to go. Thus, it is not hard to spot young ‘homeless’ people at the park, bus stations, etc.

If the runaways have some cash, they can rent a dorm room to take a rest while finding a job to make money. Such cases imply that they have a detailed plan in advance! 

How To Get A Runaway To Come Home?

It is not easy to stay calm while having a teenage fugitive.

Yet, the presence of your mind is the top essential factor in activating problem-solving skills. Remember being panicked does not help change the bad situation! 

When you have a teenage runaway, follow the step-by-step process below! 

  1. Call the police or the related authorities, such as the Law Enforcement Agency, National Crime Information Center, etc., to report the missing case of your child. 
    • Unlike the common misconception, you do not have to wait for 24 hours as a waiting period in police departments to have a valid report of missing. 
    • You should provide the information about the kid’s name, age, appearance, the clothes they were wearing the last time they were seen, etc. 
  2. Contact the kid’s friends, relatives, acquaintances, teachers, co-workers, etc. 
    • The first purpose is to inform them of the kid’s missing case, which is an added source to find the runaway.
    • Moreover, you can get more hints about the recent problems that your kid has not shared with you. So, it can be clues of whys and places. 
  3. Expand the scale of searching thanks to the power of the Internet. 
    • You can upload the images and the relevant information about your kid to the groups or communities for finding missing children. 
    • Creating a page on Facebook, a Website, etc., such as Find [the name of the fugitive], is a nice suggestion so that your family, friends, and co-workers can easily send the information to others. 
    • You can also run ads on these pages during the process. 
  4. Create the missing flier or even contact the local media to broadcast the information. 
    • You can stick fliers in the areas where people can easily see the identities of your runaway. 
    • Broadcasting the news of you trying to find your kid can move people to support you if they spot any helpful signs. 
  5. Investigate the house, especially the room of the runaway.
    • There might be the last bus ticket to indicate the recent place they went to. 
    • They might leave their diary or notes that can be crucial hints for where they might go or what they will do. 
    • You can open their computer to find their email address or access social accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., for tracking their online activities, statuses, etc.

The process above is about how to find runaway teens. Here is the instruction on what to do if you find a runaway child.

  1. Instead of scolding or being angry at the kid, you should stay calm and take them home.
  2. It is important to take things slowly and improvise according to the situation.
    • If the kid seems exhausted, you can skip the deep talk for the next morning.
    • In case they seem ready, serve them a hot meal to have a sincere conversation.
    • Instead of talking, you should ask questions with a caring and loving attitude.
    • It is helpful to unfold why they ran away so you both can connect and come up with better solutions.
  3. Keep an eye on your kid in a proper way. Don’t get it wrong into the strict disciplines but connect with them more. So, your child can be open with you about their underlying insecurity or anxiety.

Understanding Why To Have Better Conversations With Runaways

Learning why your kids ran away leads to the aspects that we might have never expected.

For example, it might be a sign of rebelliousness and you might have to think of where to send a defiant teenager. It might not be pleasant, but necessary to face your kid’s challenges, pressures, etc.

Once you put yourself into your kid’s shoes, you can put off your anger when a child returns. Instead, you can have healing conversations that create more connections.

Maybe we should not wait for the kids to run away to try to understand them!

Get to know your teen’s adolescent developments and mental changes as soon as possible. Love and connection need time to grow and effort to nourish and maintain.

When children live in a respected and loving world, do you think they will run away? Of course, they will not bother leaving. So, getting to know your kid is crucial as a parent! 

Every individual has to deal with a different family crisis, yet it does not mean that such family issues can destroy the love and solidarity between you and your child.


We hope that this article helps you have better information on how to find a runaway teenager.

So, you can calmly solve the problems and accelerate the process to track the missing down.

We also discuss the importance of empathy for the actions of runaway youths and sincere love throughout their maturity journey and your parenting.

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