Runaways, according to Rubin, are getting younger and come increasingly from low-income and black families; city police encounter fewer middle class ""flower children"" and more subteen ""throwaways"" from homes that no longer want them or that have broken up altogether. Beyond this kind of generalization there seems to be little consensus about runaways' problems and how to solve them, and the confusion is reflected in this fragmented account based on interviews with runaways and the professionals who deal with them, on quick summaries of headline scandals and sociologists' reports; and on testimony from Senator Birch Bayh's subcommittee. More frightening than the teenagers' own stories (""Like when my father is beating my mother. . . he gets to the point where he can't stop"") is the repeated complaint of home directors and police that a runaway must get himself arrested in order to be eligible for any kind of social services. (One social worker jokingly advises a homeless boy to steal a car so that he will be eligible for some kind of placement.) Rubin lists agencies and switchboard services that troubled youngsters can turn to; however, the overwhelming message is that one had better stay home if at all possible. . . for although the unfiltered testimony is sometimes repetitive, it makes the dimensions of the problem depressingly clear.