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Contact the Texas Youth Helpline any time, day or night to discuss your problem. It's free, and we're here to help!

runaway squatting next to wall

Our Story

The Texas Youth Helpline provides prevention services to youths, parents, siblings, and other family members who are in need of a caring voice and sympathetic ear. Trained volunteers are on call to provide guidance on youth-related concerns, referral information, or simply listen. The helpline receives thousands of calls each year, and the helpline's database includes approximately 2,000 listings of state and local resources. To date, staff and volunteers have answered more than one million calls.

A History of Serving Youth

In September 1973, after recognizing the country’s growing runaway problem, the Governor of Texas initiated a toll-free, runaway hotline. Originally named Operation Peace of Mind, the hotline was established in 1973 after police discovered the remains of 27 young men who had been brutally tortured, raped and murdered in the Houston area. Since many of the victims were runaways, the governor of Texas initiated a nationwide service that allowed runaways to leave messages for parents who feared their children were among the dead. Community volunteers operated the hotline out of two hotel rooms that were donated by Holiday Inns of America, Inc.

In August 1979, Operation Peace of Mind was renamed the Runaway Hotline, and in 1983, the hotline moved to Austin. In December 1998, a separate prevention hotline for youth was combined with the hotline for runaways, and the Texas Youth & Runaway Hotline was established. The name was later shortened to the Texas Youth Hotline, and in 2014, we launched services via text and chat, to reach young people and others that prefer to communicate and receive help digitally.

In 2019, we changed our name to the Texas Youth Helpline to reflect our growing emphasis on supporting families. Today, the helpline provides crisis intervention, advocacy, and information and referrals to youth and adults from across the state.