Struggling economy leads to more teens on the street
State and federal labor laws prevent many teenagers from finding work. In the summer of 2009, less than 30% of teens had jobs, due also in part to the economy.
Statistics from federally financed outreach programs indicate that over the past two years, an increasing number of children have left home for life on the streets. Approximately 1.6 million juveniles are reported as either runaways or living away from their families who cannot afford to support them. Some leave due to conflict at home, abusive parents or just not wanting to live by their parents’ rules.
Foreclosures, layoffs and an inadequate supply of low-cost housing have affected the lives of teens and tweens. Many find themselves on the wrong side of the law because their age prevents them from getting a job, renting a room or signing a lease. Panhandling, prostitution and selling drugs becomes a way of survival and support.
The National Runaway Switchboard maintains a database of missing children. But not all runaways and missing children are reported to the authorities. Unless they are in the database, no one knows to look for them.
For assistance if you’re living on the street alone or with others, you can contact the hotline at: 1-800-786-2929 [1-800-runaway].
A Pew Research Center report in November, 2009, indicates that “boomerang kids” are returning home at a higher rate than previous years. Due to the economy and a pursuit of higher education, one in seven sets of parents reported grown children returning to the nest. There is less stigma on returning sons and daughters since the recession began in late 2007. Pew figures were based on statistics from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor.