Each year, the National Runaway Switchboard fields calls from more than 100,000 young people who have run away, or are considering running away, from home. Family dynamics is the reason callers most often cite.
There’s an important role for parents and caregivers in creating the healthy family relationships that prevent youth runaways.
As training and education manager, Natalie D. Smith trains the crisis staff and volunteers who answer more than 100,000 calls each year to the National Runaway Hotline (800-RUNAWAY). She oversaw the development of the Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum and manages the organization’s runaway prevention program. Smith, who also serves on the board of the Chicago-based Young Women’s Empowerment Project, is a licensed clinical social worker with a graduate degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.