Familylinks offers help for runaway youths
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Each year, between 1.6 million and 2.8 million youths run away from home, according to National Safe Place, so where can they turn for help in our own community?
The answer is Familylinks, the regional Safe Place representative in Allegheny County. Every Familylinks location is a designated space for children and youths to seek emergency refuge from whatever crisis they are facing, whether it is abuse, violence or feeling unsafe, unwanted or alone. Designated Safe Place buildings are marked with diamond-shaped, black and yellow signs and can be entered at any time.
March 17-23 marks National Safe Place Week, and we want to draw attention to an often unseen issue. Kids in crisis, especially adolescents, see running away as a resolution, but we know all too well how dangerous this can be. The National Safe Place initiative focuses on immediate interventions to address issues at the earliest possible stage of a crisis, supported by advocacy and access to safe, supportive resources. This is critically important during the initial steps of addressing a child's immediate needs.
In 2012, the National Runaway Safeline handled a total of 575 phone calls from local area codes in the Pittsburgh region. That is why Familylinks provides emergency help to these vulnerable young people and why we encourage area restaurants, convenience stores, libraries and other community settings to become a Safe Place and open their doors to kids in crisis.
FREDERICK A. MASSEY JR.
CEO, Familylinks Inc.
First Published March 20, 2013 12:00 am