Endangered Runaways
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NCMEC defines an Endangered Runaway as a child under the age of 18 who is missing on his or her own accord and whose whereabouts are unknown to their parent or legal guardian. These children are highly vulnerable and can experience homelessness when they are missing. According to a recent report from Chapin Hall,1 in 30 adolescent minors ages 13 to 17 endures some form of homelessness in a year.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for running away from home or state care are multifaceted, and there is no typical Endangered Runaway.

The following factors may put youth at an increased risk of running away or becoming homeless:


  • Previous Missing Incident
  • Drug/Alcohol Involvement
  • Mental Health Condition
  • Suicidal Tendencies
  • Self-Harm Tendencies
  • Likely Child Sex Trafficking
  • Medical Condition or Pregnancy
  • Gang Involvement
  • Other Special Needs Condition
  • Online Enticement

By the Numbers

In 2019, of the more than 29,000 cases reported to NCMEC, 91% were Endangered Runaways.


To search for a missing child and view posters of those missing in your area, click here.

of Endangered Runaways reported to NCMEC were between 15-17 years old.

of these missing children had at least one reported risk factor and 62% had two or more risk factors.

What NCMEC is Doing About it

NCMEC Partnerships

NCMEC partners with a variety of organizations that share our commitment to helping families and young people stay safe. Please visit our partnerships page  to see the dynamic work of our current partners and find information on how we can collaborate with your organization. 

Supporting Victims and Families

For families with a missing or sexually exploited child, NCMEC provides support services like crisis intervention and local counseling referrals to appropriate professionals. Our Team HOPE program connects families with peers who have had similar experiences and can offer coping skills and compassion. When a missing child is recovered, we help families with the reunification process, including mental health services and travel assistance.

Raising Public Awareness to Help Bring Them Home

With help from our private-sector photo partners, we coordinate the creation and dissemination of missing child posters to targeted geographic areas to help generate leads and engage the public in the search.

The public can also help in the recovery efforts by signing up in The ADAM Program to receive missing child alerts in their area. 

Runaway Train 25

Twenty-five years ago, the song "Runaway Train" featured missing children in its music video and helped close 21 cases! For the 25th anniversary of the song, we reimagined "Runaway Train" with new artists and a dynamic music video that updates itself with missing children from the NCMEC database based on a user's location. That means more missing children in front of more people in more relevant places.

Watch #RunawayTrain25 and help us bring home #Missingkids.