MORE THAN A MILLION KIDS ARE ON THEIR OWN

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

* Approximately 1.3 million teenagers live on the streets in the United States today, according to the National Runaway Switchboard in Chicago.

Typically, kids stay within 300 miles of home with friends and relatives, says Dyana Flanigan, marketing manager for the organization. But as time passes, they move further away, often to urban areas, she says.

"They hang out at fast-food restaurants, shopping malls, and video arcades. They live in abandoned buildings or underneath highway bridges, and in warmer climates like Ft. Lauderdale [Fla.] or Southern California, where they will spend their days and nights at the beach," Ms. Flanigan says.

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Other data about runaways, according to the National Runaway Switchboard:

* One in seven of all kids in the US will run away. The aveage age of runaways is 15.

* 5,000 runaways die each year in the US.

* One of three runaways is lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

* A majority of runaways use or deal drugs to survive.

* Why kids leave home, based on 120,000 calls to the Runaway Switchboard in 1991: 51 percent family problems, 18 percent physical abuse, 18 percent sexual abuse, 6 percent alcohol or drug abuse, 3 percent pregnancy, 3 percent legal issues, 1 percent school or peer pressure.

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