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Indicator 7 : Runaways

Goal: Families will provide a stable, supportive environment for their children. Supportive and nurturing relationships promote children's emotional security, social development and academic achievement.

Rationale: Many children or young people run away from home because they lack a stable, supportive home environment. Some are victims of abuse.

About this indicator: After a marked increase between 1990 and 1994, the runaway rate per 1,000 children decreased from 1994 to 1998, rising again in 1999 and 2000. The primary purpose of the data, which is collected as a provision of the Minnesota Missing Children's Act of 1984, is to assist in locating those children reported missing in the shortest possible time, thus ensuring their safe return.

For comparison: The Federal Bureau of Investigation collects national data on runaways in a different way, making comparison impossible.

Things to think about: Other categories of children missing from home are not included in these figures. They may have wandered away, be missing in suspicious circumstances or be the suspected victim of parental kidnapping. Over three quarters of runaways are located, with an almost equal number returning voluntarily and being located by the authorities.

Technical notes: The data is collected at the end of each month by law enforcement agencies and aggregated yearly. Data in Minnesota Milestones 1998 was based on the number of runaways reported throughout the year. Since 1997, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has reported only the number of cases remaining open at year's end. For consistency, Milestones data from 1990 to 1996 has been revised to include only cases remaining open at the end of the year. Including all cases reported during the year meant that some youth were counted multiple times. However, including only cases remaining open at the year's end understates the total number of runaways because many cases are closed before the data is collected.


  • Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minnesota Missing Children Report,

Related data trends:

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