1. The reference dates for some of the NISMART–2 component studies vary because of a delay caused by pending Federal legislation that, had it passed, would have made it impossible to conduct the National Household Survey of Youth, a key component of NISMART–2. In anticipation of a quick resolution, OJJDP decided to proceed with the Law Enforcement Study and the Juvenile Facilities Study because neither involved interviewing youth. Had these 1997 studies been postponed until 1999, it is highly unlikely that those estimates would have been statistically different.

2. Respondents were instructed that these questions applied only to their child or children 7 years of age or older. A parallel set of episode screening questions were asked of the 10- to 18-year-old youth interviewees.

3. For details about the weighting procedure and variance estimation, see OJJDP’s forthcoming NISMART–2 Household Survey Methodology Technical Report.

4. The NIS–3 data were collected in 1993 from a sample of 5,612 professionals in a nationally representative sample of 42 counties who were charged with being on the lookout for maltreated children during a 3-month study period. The child protective services agencies in the same counties also provided data on maltreated children to the study. Duplicate records on the same child were eliminated, standard definitions of abuse and neglect were applied to all cases, and the data were weighted and annualized to provide estimates of the numbers of maltreated children in the United States in the study year. Details are given in Sedlak and Broadhurst (1996).

5. For details about the methodology used in the Juvenile Facilities Study, see OJJDP’s forthcoming Juvenile Facilities Study Technical Report.

6. A number of considerations argued against integrating these children into the NISMART runaway/thrownaway estimates. First, NIS–3 and NISMART were conducted at different points in time (1993 vs.1999). Second, it was not possible to assure that children counted in NIS–3 had not also been counted in one of the NISMART–2 surveys—a necessary assumption for integrating the NIS–3 and NISMART data into a unified estimate (see OJJDP’s forthcoming Unified Estimate Methodology Technical Report). Finally, the NIS–3 study cases were missing information about a number of characteristics, so even if the timeframe and unification issues could be resolved, the NIS–3 data would not have contributed to the case profiles given here.

7. A substantial number of runaways/thrownaways who had not returned (an estimated 2,500) were runaways from institutions who had been identified through the Juvenile Facilities Study. While individual facilities report their runaways to the authorities legally responsible for the youth (e.g., child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health), it sometimes happens that these authorities place a recovered child in another facility without notifying the original facility.

8. This estimate was carefully developed to count each youth only once. Because some youth had more than one of the characteristics listed in table 4, the estimates for these separate characteristics should not be summed.

9. For this reason, the number of police contacts was greater than the number of youth in the reported missing category, which was estimated as 357,600, or 21 percent.

10. The results of this analysis will be presented in OJJDP’s forthcoming Bulletin, Historical Change in the Incidence of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children, 1988–1999. Note that NISMART–1 and NISMART–2 data and findings should not be compared directly because of differences in both definitions and methodology. The NISMART–2 definition of runaways/ thrownaways combines the individual runaway and thrownaway categories used in NISMART–1. In addition, in NISMART–2, runaway/thrownaway episodes were identified not simply through interviews with caretakers but also through interviews with juveniles.

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