Runaway children are a societal tragedy. They are at risk of drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution and other sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, depression, and suicide. According to the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), which is a subset of the Department of Health and Human Services, children who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning are statistically more likely to become runaways than other children. That’s why the Obama administration is planning on spending almost a million dollars to create “transitional living programs” for the LGBTQ youth community.
In its grant announcement, the ACF explained that, “Each year in the United States, an estimated 1.6 million unaccompanied youth between the ages of 12 and 17 experience homelessness, which puts youth at a high risk for health, behavioral, and socioemotional problems compared to the general youth population.” Moreover, “It is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. This is disproportionate to the estimated percentage of LGBTQ youth in the general population, which is between 4 and 10 percent.” Many of these LGBTQ children run away, says the ACF, not for the general reasons kids runaway, but specifically because their families reject their LGBTQ status.