Research papers about teenage runaways can focus on a case study of a runaway featured in a book or accessed through an interview. Paper Masters will explicate the problem of teenage runaways through a sociological study of the phenomena that is a tragic part of society. Below is the case of April Savino.
The life of April Savino is a tragic tale. Born to two parents that were unable, or unwilling, to meet her emotional needs, April's life is a clear example of how therapeutic intervention could have improve the overall outcome. Although April's life is an integral whole in which one event cannot be separated from the other, it is clear that the intervention strategies that would have been most effective were different at various points throughout her life. As such, this investigation considers possible intervention strategies before the age of 11-when April still lived at home-and after the age of 11-when April took up residence in Grand Central Station. By examining these two segments of April's life, it is hope that a more integral understanding of the theory behind intervention will be elucidated.
The Early Years
Evaluating the theories that may have been most useful in helping April while she stilled lived at home, it becomes quite evident that life course theory would have had the most salient application overall. According to Schriver , life course theory is helpful for understanding families because it illuminates "the complexities of family as the context or environment of the individuals within it". As such, the social worker or therapist works to garner an intimate knowledge of the family structure so that relevant change can be brought about.
Life course theory is in many respects commensurate with the ideas espoused in functional theory. Under functional theory, there is a "consensus view of social order" that enables caring and cooperation. While functionalists agree that cooperation and caring are possible, they also recognize that human beings can be somewhat disordered and undisciplined. What this effectively suggests about life course theory is that while the therapist would view the family unit as a cohesive, positive whole, he or she would also be able to discern the need for change that could improve this structure. As such, April's family would not be seen as inherently "bad" or "wrong." Rather they would be viewed as a work in progress, capable of making change for the better functionality.
Teenage Runaways and Violence Against Children
Teenage runaways are frequently victims of domestic abuse. Violence against children has been manifested in every conceivable manner: physically, emotionally, through neglect, by sexual exploitation and by child labor. Of these forms of maltreatment, the four most common types of abuse include:
- Physical abuse - Physical abuse is defined as the mistreatment of a child that causes physical injury, impairment, or endangerment.
- Emotional abuse - Emotional abuse is divided into three subcategories, including:
- Close confinement (which is a torturous restriction of movement such as binding or tying);
- Verbal assault, which includes habitual patterns of belittling, denigrating or other forms of rejecting treatment;
- Other abuse which is overtly punitive, exploitative or abusive.
- Neglect - Neglect is divided into seven subcategories including:
- Refusal of health care
- Delay in healthcare
- Abandonment or desertion
- Expulsion or blatant refusal to care for a child
- Custody-related issues, such as repeatedly leaving a child with others
- Inadequate supervision
- Other physical neglect such as inadequate nutrition
- Sexual abuse - Sexual abuse is divided into three subcategories. These include:
- Intrusion, which means evidence of actual penile penetration
- Molestation, which includes genital contact without intrusion
- Other sexual abuse, which includes acts such as fondling or inappropriate supervision of a child's sexual activities