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Introduction

The words “missing child” call to mind tragic and frightening kidnappings reported in the national news. But a child can be missing for many reasons, and the problem of missing children is far more complex than the headlines suggest. Getting a clear picture of how many children become missing—and why—is an important step in addressing the problem. This series of Bulletins provides that clear picture by summarizing findings from the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART–2). The series offers national estimates of missing children based on surveys of households, juvenile residential facilities, and law enforcement agencies. It also presents statistical profiles of these children, including their demographic characteristics and the circumstances of their disappearance.

This Bulletin provides information on the number and characteristics of children who are gone from their homes either because they have run away or because they have been thrown out by their caretakers. The estimates presented in this Bulletin are derived from three components of the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART–2): the National Household Survey of Adult Caretakers, the National Household Survey of Youth, and the Juvenile Facilities Study. The NISMART–2 studies spanned the years 1997 to 1999.1 All data in the individual component studies were collected to reflect a 12-month period. Because the vast majority of cases were from the studies conducted in 1999, the annual period being referred to in these Bulletins is 1999.

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Runaway/Thrownaway Children: National Estimates and Characteristics
NISMART Bulletin
October 2002