Greyhound is giving free tickets to runaways who want to return home

The Home Free program gives free transportation to runaways who wish to return home.

(CNN) -- For over a decade, Greyhound Lines has partnered with the National Runaway Safeline -- an organization that seeks to keep runaway and homeless youth safe -- to reunite young people with their families and guardians.

Since 1995, the Home Free program has helped over 16,000 families by providing free bus tickets, the National Runaway Safeline says.

To get a free ticket home, a person between the ages of 12 and 21 must call the NRS helpline (1-800-RUNAWAY). They also must be named on a runaway report and be willing to return to their family. The family or guardian also needs to agree to receive them at home.

If the individual hoping to return home is under the age of 15, Home Free also provides a free ticket for the child's parent or guardian.

A person can only get a ticket home through the program twice.

More than just a ticket

Before a young person begins their journey home, National Runaway Safeline says it works with them and their guardians to create a plan for their return and locates resources in the community that will be able to provide support once they are settled.

After the family is reunited, group says it follows up to make sure the family member arrived home safely and provides additional resources.

Why children run away from home

The National Runaway Safeline is careful to emphasize that children who run away from home are not "bad" kids. Runaway children, the organization says, are usually running away from something, not towards something.

"They are dealing with a situation that feels overwhelming," National Runaway Safeline says, "be it family dynamics, bullying, gender identity or being lured from home over the internet. They believe living anywhere else is better; even if this means living on the streets."

Nearly half of the youth interviewed by the organization say they were thrown out of their homes. Their reasons vary, but commonly include significant family conflict that had been happening for some time.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.