A study of the problems relating to reintegration into the home of runaway children in Tarrant County, Texas



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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to establish the basic characteristics of the runaway child in Tarrant County, Texas, during the months of December, 1969, and January, 1970. It was also the purpose of this study to establish which of these characteristics, if any, related to the parental rejection exhibited toward these runaway children. It was the specific aim of the study to find any problems relating to the reintegration of a child into his home and to provide these findings for counsellors in the hope that runaway children would be helped. Methods: The primary sources of data were the responses of seventy-three runaways in Tarrant County, to a twenty item checklist used as a basis for the study. Interviews were conducted with professionals in the field, school officials, and other persons in related fields to gain an overall view of the problem of runaways. Secondary sources of information included books, articles, and reports related to the field. The data were distributed by twenty checklist items and presented in tabular form by the use of means, stan-deviations, and the t-test. Findings: From the data gathered during this research the following conclusions may be drawn: 1. The "typical" runaway child (N=73) is described by the following profile: "he" is 14.6 years old, Caucasian, and Protestant. His parents were divorced and he lived with someone other than both natural parents. He was gone from home about 9.5 days. His grade level was 8.2 and he had one brother and one sister. He had not committed any law violation while running away and had run away because of trouble with his family. He had run away from home at least once before and had come into formal contact with the police before this referral. 2. The study showed the factor of age to be significant as related to rejection. The "younger" group of children were more likely to face rejection that the "older" group of children. 3. The marital status of the runaway child's parents is a significant factor in the rejection feelings exhibited toward the child. A child whose parents are divorced, separated, unwed, or one or both deceased, is more likely to be rejected than a child whose parents are married and living together. 4. The study showed the child's place of residence at the time of running away to be a significant factor as related to rejection. A child who lived with someone other than both natural parents was more likely to face rejection than a child who lived in the home with both natural parents. 5. Another factor found to be significant to rejection was the child's stated reason for leaving home. A child who had left home for non-family related reasons was more likely to be rejected than one who had given family problems as a reason for his departure.



Runaway children., Emotional problems of children., Problem children.