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Thursday August 16th, 2018 10:01PM

Study: Georgia 6th in teen runaways

By Alyson Shields Reporter

Georgia is sixth in the nation when it comes to teenage runaways, a 2016 study reports.
 
The trend report was released by the National Runaway Safeline on Wednesday and indicated the number of online chats on the agency's website doubled from 2014 to 2015.
 
"Last year, in 2015, the number of calls the number of calls we handled in Georgia was close to 2,000 calls. It's significant . In the Atlanta area alone, it was 1,200 calls," said Maureen Blaha, executive director of the NRS, on the Afternoon News Wrap with Russell Brown.
 
Blaha said there are several signs parents can watch for when it comes to teen runaways.
 
"Whenever there is a change in routine - this is an ideal time to be talking about it because most schools will be ending pretty soon - and that is kind of stressful for kids. Remember, that teens are already going through those adolescent changes and emotions to begin with and when there's a change in routine it can be very stressful for them," Blaha said.
 
Blaha said along with changes in routine, mood swings, behavior and pattern changes, rebellion and outward statements about running away are signs that a teenager might take off.
 
"Parents need to take that very seriously and sit down with their child and talk about what is going on," Blaha said. "Pay attention, don't be doing it while you're reading the newspaper, and open the door for communication so you're giving your child permission to share his feelings and what's really going on for him."
 
Blaha said teen runaways fall under every category.
 
"This is an issue that touches all geographical areas, all socio-economic [groups], all cultures, so it is something the community can come together and provide support and help families stay together."

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