The New York Times has done a very good article about teen runaways and why they run and why they stay away and how they survive. It’s really sad — especially the statistic on page 3 that 75% of runaways are never even reported missing, either because the parents don’t want them around or because they’re afraid to get the police involved.
I read an excellent book by Todd Strasser, Can’t Get There from Here, about a group of teen runaways and throwaways living on the streets of a major American city — New York, I think. They ranged in age from 12 to 22. They lived lives a lot like what’s described in the newspaper article.
I think maybe if a runaway is from a good home and they don’t come back, maybe it’s because they’re ashamed. They might not want to go home after having done things like sell drugs or sell themselves to survive. They might be afraid their parents will be mad at them and will reject them.