Military dependent juvenile runaways at Fort Hood, Texas :a descriptive profile


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Purpose:The primary purpose of this study was to obtain a descriptive profile of runway juveniles from Fort Hood, Texas. This profile included basic data such as age, sex, and education level of the juvenile. Information describing basic interaction patterns between the juvenile, his parents and additional family members was also obtained. Emphasis was placed on the actions taken by the juvenile during the runway episode. It was anticipated that through the design and implementation of this study, information would be gained regarding the following aspect of runway behavior at Fort Hood, Texas. 1. Who s the Fort Hood runway, what does he look like insofar as age, sex, race, and education level are concerned. 2. To what extent, if any, does he differ from the non-military dependent juvenile runway describe in previous research? 3. Is there any discernable pattern of events peculiar to the runway episode itself? Methodology: The data gathered in this study were obtained by interviewing fifty Fort Hood, Texas military dependent juvenile runways. Juveniles we defined as being any young person between the ages of six and seventeen. All interviews were structured through the use of a questionnaire form. Interviews were conducted by the author ad staff members from youth-related agencies cooperating in the data gathering effort. Selection of juveniles to be included in the sample was convenience-oriented in that the cooperating agencies was requested to obtain data from all appropriate juveniles currently and subsequently included on their caseloads. To insure accurate recall, this sample was limited to juveniles whose last runways episode had occurred less than twelve months prior to the interview. All data obtained were analyzed by means of frequency distribution through utilization of the Sam Houston State University’s computer. Findings: 1. The typical Fort Hood military dependent juvenile runway is a female between fourteen and sixteen years of age. She is Caucasian. She is mostly likely to be a sophomore in high school, but can be found in any grade in the range encompassing the eighth-grade to the junior year in high school. There is almost a 50-50 chance that she has repeated at least one grade in school. 2. Juveniles in this study were more likely to plan ahead of time the details of the runways episode, than juveniles studied in pervious research. They were also more inclined to stay gone longer and travel further from home. 3. The home, school, and peer group activities were the most likely starting points for runway episodes. Juveniles were more likely to run away by themselves than with another juvenile. Juveniles usually stayed at the dwelling of a friend or other “Sympathetic party� during the episode. An atmosphere of indifference and/or dissatisfaction, on the part of the juveniles and his parents, usually characterized the juvenile’s return home. 4. The most common responses given by juveniles when asked, “why do you think you ran away?� were: (a) Excessive drinking by either or both parents, (b) Strict or authoritarian discipline measure enforced by the parents, (c) Unwillingness of parents to compromise with the juveniles on matter such as the subject’s hair length, clothing style, and choice of friends, (d) failure of the parents to recognize the juvenile as a person with individual feeling and rights.



Runaway children--Texas--Fort Hood.