Are runaway laws enforced in Arkansas?
I'm almost 17, and the court has granted my mother temporary custody. My parents divorce was granted because of my mother being abusive, but they tried to make it out like my dad is a bad parent. Everyone is astonished that they would give my mother custody because of the abuse situation. I have been a runaway many times before because of my mother's abusive and all 4 times I was arrested. I know that in Missouri at 17 they do not enforce runaway laws. In Arkansas do they? If I leave home and go to my dad's can I be reported as a runaway and my dad get in trouble??
Re: Are runaway laws enforced in Arkansas?
Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Switchboard. Sorry to hear about the abusive situation you are in at home. Have child abuse reports ever been filed? If you wanted to file a child abuse report, you can contact the Arkansas Hotline which is open 24/7 at 1-800-482-5964. If you have any questions or need assistance with filing the report, you can contact us 1-800-RUNAWAY and we too are available 24 hours.
Generally speaking, running away is not illegal and is considered a status offense. In most cases after a runaway report is filed and the Youth is located, the Police will return the runaway Youth to the home of his or her legal guardian(s). There is no across the board policies when it comes to the enforcement of runaway laws. How actively the Police will search for runaways vary across Police precincts.
Harboring a runaway is a charge that can be filed against individual(s) who provide assistance or aid to runaways. If a runaway report was filed, “harboring a runaway” is a possible charge that could result if assistance or aiding was provided.
We hope the information provided is helpful! Remember you may contact us at 1-800-RUNAWAY for additional assistance; we can discuss and explore possible options. We are a confidential and anonymous hotline and are available 24/7. We look forward to hearing from you and we wish you the Best of Luck!
I am supposed to live with my father in Arkansas, but I am currently visiting my mother in Montana. I do not want to return to Arkansas, but stay with my mother. My father has custody. but I am 17 years old and think I should be able to choose where I want to live? If I just stayed at my moms and didn't get on my plane in a few weeks, could I or my mother get in any trouble?
Thank you for reaching out to us and telling us what is going on. It sounds like you are in a difficult situation right now and hopefully we can provide you with some resources that may be able to help you out. It was very brave of you to contact us. Unfortunately, we aren’t legally trained here so we wouldn’t be able to tell you what exactly would happen if you were to leave home but we can give you some general information.
It sounds like you are currently in MT visiting your mom but in a few weeks, you will need to return home to dad in AR. Can you tell us more about what is going on with dad? If you are feeling unsafe at home, you may have the option to file a report with Child Protective Services. They would open an investigation into your case and make a determination from there; unfortunately, there is no guarantee though that they would remove you from your dad’s or grant guardianship to mom. If you are interested in filing a report, please give us a call here and we can definitely help you out with that.
Again, we aren’t legally trained here so we can’t tell you for sure what would happen if you stayed with mom but we can give you some general ideas. It is our understanding that if you were to stay there and your dad filed a runaway report, your mom could possibly get into trouble for harboring a runaway or contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Unfortunately, the charges vary from state to state so we wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what would happen. Also, and we aren’t sure about this, but your mom may get into trouble if your dad has custodial rights but again, we aren’t sure.
One place that may be able to give you some specific answers would be the local police department. You may be able to give them a call and find out from them what they would do if a report had been filed. If you would like to do that but are hesitant to call on your own, we can definitely help you out by making a conference call with you. Another option may be legal aid; we can help you locate an office but we would need to know what city and state you are calling from.
Here at the National Runaway Safeline, we are a confidential and anonymous crisis line so if you would like to talk more or would like to explore your options, please give us a call at anytime. Our toll free hotline is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) and we are available 24 hours a day. Also, we have online chat services that are available from 4:30-11:30 PM (CST) if you would rather talk with us that way instead.
We look forward to hearing from you and wish you the best of luck!