SPOTLIGHT ON....Is information and depiction suggestions on important health issues for YOU...the creative community.

Hopefully, these will not only be the impetus for fresh story ideas, but will also imbue scripts with a realistic and accurate portrayal of health issues facing the public today. They are designed to enhance the creative process - not limit it!

                  Children & Youth TEENS 

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Depiction Suggestions
When depicting runaway youth characters, make an effort to show as many dimensions of the story as possible, including more than one factor that likely drove the young person to choose a life of homelessness to staying with family or friends.
EIC Publication
Picture This: At-Risk Children & Youth

For more information about runaway/thrownaway teens click on EIC's Picture This: At-Risk Children and Youth publication.


  • 1 million to 3 million runaway and homeless kids live on the streets in the United States
  • In 1999, an estimated 1,682, 900 youth had a runaway or thrownaway episode
  • Of the total runaway/thrownaway
    youth, an estimated, 1,190,000 (71%) could have been endangered during their runaway/thrownaway episode by virtue of factors such as substance dependency, use of hard drugs, sexual or physical abuse, presence in a place where criminal activity was occurring, or because of their extremely young age (13 years old or younger).

Watch This

Ludacris PSA Runaway

 Click the photo above for Ludacris's PSA

How today's economy affects families and contributes to runaway teens.


homeless teen

Runaways have sometimes been referred to as the voluntary missing, to distinguish them from abducted and lost children.  However, this term misstates the nature and complexity of the problem.  It is generally recognized that children who leave home prematurely often do so as a result of intense family conflict or even physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.  Children may leave to protect themselves or because they are no longer wanted in the home.  The term "voluntary" does not properly apply to such situations. 

"According to social work theory, there is usually one person per family that acts out, which is usually a child, and they demonstrate this by running away from abusive situations and family issues," stated Nancy Fastenenau, an expert in training and providing service in youth empowerment. 

An estimated 38,600 runaway/thrownaways were at risk of sexual endangerment or exploitation by one or more of the following characteristics or behaviors during the episode: the youth was sexually assaulted, there was an attempted sexual assault of the youth, the youth was in the company of someone known to be sexually abusive, or youth engaged in sexual activity in exchange for money, drugs, food, or shelter during the episode.

FOSTER CARE: A related topic

Anne Hathaway_Benjamin Bratt_Dana Delany 
EIC recently hosted an event in Washington, D.C. called Picture This: Foster Care with national leaders, stakeholders in the foster care field and entertainment representatives to define top priorities and establish communication strategies that reach the public through accurate entertainment depictions and news reporting regarding Foster Care.
To view the press release from the event, click here.


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Content related to health and social issues brought to you by the Entertainment and Media Communication Institute's Center on Mental Health, the research and strategy division of the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.
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