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  • 17 year old in PA

    Im 17 and I will be turning 18 in January. Things at home are not working out. I ran away for about a month and came back to my dads house. I dont want to live at either my dads or moms house. During the time I ran away i was staying at my girlfriends house. I want to know what legal rights if any do I have. Also, what consequences do my girlfriends family, my girlfriend, or do I face. What would happen if my parents called the police? My girlfriend is 19 and still living with her parents. Thank you please RSVP. Thank you.

  • #2
    re: 17 year old in PA

    Thank you so much for reaching out. It sounds like a lot has been going on at home, and we’re here to help. We’re not legal experts and the age of majority (the age at which you are legally considered an adult) differs, but if at 17 you are considered a minor and you do run away, your parents may file a runaway report with the police. This is different than other police reports, as it’s a status offense and doesn’t affect your “permanent record,” but if filed the police may look for you and return you to your parents’ house. If filed, your girlfriend and her family could be in trouble, but again we are not legal experts, so it’s best to try giving your local sheriff’s office a call to get the specific details for your area. You can look up the number at http://usacops.com/. If you still have questions, you can call us any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-786-2929 or reach us on chat between 4:30-11:30PM CT.

    Take care,
    -NRS
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      Gone for good

      Hello, I am a seventeen year old female.
      I'm settled to leave this Saturday. Nothing is changing my mind
      No..no abuse, no neglect, no boyfriend I'm leaving to, simply need to do some soul searching right now in order to...know myself, I turn 18 this November...in six months.
      And I live in Pennsylvania, I am going quite a ways away though still with PA.
      I'm very smart and have left no trace.
      So my question is...do the police look hard for older runaways? How long do I have? Weeks? Months? I trying to make it until I am 18.
      It's a rather populated area so what are the odds they're going to find me?

      Comment


      • #4
        Reply: Gone for good

        Hello, Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Safeline.

        It sounds like you have planned to run away soon but are wondering what the chances are for being found.
        We hope that you will be safe and have a plan to survive on your own.
        Unfortunately we are unable to determine the odds on how long you might be able to stay away. We also can’t determine the odds on you being found.

        As for the police procedure in looking for runaways, in general they usually will make a runaway report.
        They usually don’t go out searching for a runaway youth unless they get information on a location where the youth might be.
        It really comes down to what there policy is on runaways.
        You might consider contacting the non-emergency number of your local police department and asking about the law and runaways. Sometimes depending on how close a youth is to 18 they may already consider them an adult and not take a runaway report.
        Does that make sense?

        You can also give NRS a call during business hours if you’d like and we can contact the police in your area and ask them any questions you might have via conference call. You can simply listen in on the information provided.
        We also provide a message service for youth to parents as well as conference calling.
        Just in case you might want to reach out to your parents but not directly.
        Call NRS at 1-800-Runaway (786-2929)
        How does that sound?

        We hope that we have helped in some way but you are welcome to contact NRS again if you have any more questions.

        Take care,
        NRS
        Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

        National Runaway Safeline
        info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
        1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

        Tell us what you think about your experience!
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

        Comment


        • #5
          Im 17 and I live in Pennsylvania. I will be 18 next month. Legally I'm only with my dad for the school year and I was gonna move out to my boyfriend's but we broke up. My dad doesn't know this though. I just graduated last Thursday but my punishment for almost not graduating is I can't see what he thinks is still my boyfriend till my birthday. He expects me to spend the next five weeks at home alone where I have no friends and everyone will be gone most of the day. I have no where to go but I wanna leave and my mom's place is basically the same way. If I leave can my dad call the cops and have me brought back even though I'll be 18 in a month?
          ​​​​​​

          Comment


          • ccsmod7
            ccsmod7 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello there, thanks for reaching out today.

            It sounds like you are wanting to leave home with a month until you are 18. Sorry to hear that you are going through this and a break up at the same time, it seems like a whole lot to deal with all at once.

            We are not legal experts but we can speak generally. With just a month to go until you are a legal adult, it is up to what your local police would do with a runaway report. Your dad can attempt to file a runaway report with your local police if you do leave home without permission. Police may or may not take the report. If they do take the report, if they follow the law to a T they would return you home if they find you. Since you are almost 18, they might do a safety check to make sure you are in a safe place, but not return you home if you are safe. It is possible that they would not accept a report for you, but by no means is it a guarantee. To get a better idea of what could happen with your local police, you can call your local police non-emergency number and ask if they would take a runaway report for a youth who is going to turn 18 in a month.

            Please call us if you would like assistance calling out to your police, or if you would like to talk more about your situation. We truly want to help.

            Best,

            NRS

        • #6
          The thing is I don't want them to know I'm doing it and try to stop it before it happens. I don't know how to anonymously ask them. I just wanna leave and know whoever I'm staying with won't have problems and that they won't force me to go home. All I do is sit there and babysit 4 kids for hours at a time and I get nothing out of it. My dad and his girlfriend still owe me $240 from last summer when I babysat my sisters when I didn't even live with them. I watched them overnight. He also said I'd get the apartment next door and he didn't even finish it when I was supposed to get it months ago then I was told three different times I was getting a car(a junk one, that I have to fix up on my own) and I haven't gotten one but he sent my 11 year old sister to stay with our aunt in Tennessee and gave her $70 for souvenirs yet they don't have money to pay me and they won't let me leave.

          Comment


          • ccsmod16
            ccsmod16 commented
            Editing a comment
            We are so glad that you felt able to reach out to us here at NRS. Thank you for sharing your situation. It is totally understandable that you feel overwhelmed and trapped in this situation and that you are trying to think of ways to get out. It sounds like a lot of what you have been promised by your family has not happened, and there are ongoing issues with trust and respect of your time and work for the family.
            You may want to consider what adults in your life you feel you can trust with this information; are there any teachers or counselors at school, neighbors, parents of friends, or other people you feel you can reach out to? Adults have often had the chance to meet more people and learn about families, so it may be easier for some of them to believe you and understand why it is a problem. Even if the school year is out, you could try emailing a staff person at your school or calling the main number.
            If you do decide you want to leave, we may be able to give you the names and numbers of some shelters or youth agencies in your area that can give you a safe place to be. We can also talk with you 24/7 on our 1800 number (1-800-786-2929) or online via chat when our chat hours are up and running.
            Again, we’re really glad that you reached out to us. It takes a lot to ask for help and you are trying to figure out your options, which his really good to see. If you would like to talk further about your situation, please do not hesitate to call or chat with us. We’re here to listen, here to help.

        • #7
          I pretty much have no one where I am right now. I can find a place with friends out of town but there's no way I can legally stay with​ them. I just wanna know how to contact the police where I live to ask what they would do but I don't wanna do it myself and I don't trust anyone I know to do it.

          Comment


          • ccsmod1
            ccsmod1 commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for writing back. We are here to listen and support you in any way that we can. You can call police at the non-emergency phone number in your town and ask questions, and you do not have to give your name if you don't want to. You can find the non-emergency number by searching online or going to www.usacops.com. If you would like to call us directly at 1-800-RUNAWAY, we can call the police for you if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself. Please note that we do limit the number of posts we can respond to per person in order to have time to help everyone who reaches out on this forum, so if you would like to talk through your situation in detail you will need to call us directly by phone or chat with us during the hours of our online chat. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon, and wish you the best of luck.

        • #8
          I'm 17 about to be 18 in 4 and 1/2 months and I'm being mentally abused and treated like a 5 year old at my house. Being told that I am a child and my mom is superior and I have no say in any matter concerning me, my well being or feelings. I should be being taught to make my own decisions at this point. I'm treated like a slave to do my mom's bidding and if I disobey I get called hateful things no mother should be saying to her child and grounded for ridiculous amounts of time that are way too much for what I do to deserve the groundings. I can't stand being here most of the time but I get threatened that my mom will call the police and have me "dragged back home" if I leave. Can she actually call the police and have me brought back if I'm only gone for the day and almost 18?

          Comment


          • ccsmod5
            ccsmod5 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hey,
            Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you’re in a really frustrating and stressful situation, and we want you to know that it’s never ever okay for your mom to abuse you. You deserve to be loved and supported, especially by your mom. One option you have is to file an abuse report; for more information about this, you can call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.
            It sounds like it must be frustrating for your mom to treat you like a child. It makes sense that, at 17, you would want to make your own decisions. We are not legal experts, but generally speaking you would need your mom’s permission to leave home if you are under 18 years old. Your mom does have the right to call the police and have you brought home if you leave without her permission, even for the day. That being said, your local police may decide not to pursue the situation since you are so close to being 18. We aren’t able to predict how your local police would handle your situation, but if you would like to know more, you can call your non-emergency police line and they may be able to help.
            Another option is to have a conversation with your mom about how she makes you feel and how she can make you feel more supported. That may be a time to talk about how you can get more freedom and have more say in decisions. If you need help having that conversation, we offer a conference call service where one of our liners can help advocate for you to your mom.
            Thank you again for reaching out!
            We hope this response was helpful! We’d love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to youth and families. Please click the link to fill out our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

        • #9
          I’m 17 years old, my mom doesn’t care about me or my other siblings. She made my younger sister act stupid to get her SSI and then she lied to her and told her she never got the SSI but our mom has been collecting her checks every month and using half of it to pay rent, and the other half of money she uses to go out to the bar on the weekend, by herself new outfits or restaurant food, or gas money or puts it on her boyfriends books in prison. Or she buys weed with it. She hasn’t used my sisters SSI money on her at all. We are wearing the same clothes for years. Or friends will give us clothes. But we never get new clothes or anything. My friend pays the other half of the rent because my mom lied and said that she didn’t have money. My friend buys shampoo for the house and toilet paper and other needs. Every time we would run out of toilet paper, my mom wouldn’t buy any more. We would use whatever we could find, tissues, paper towels, baby wipes until we would run out then we would have to take a shower right after using the bathroom. Before my friend bought soap, we were using dog shampoo to wash our hair and our bodies because the only shampoo we had left was our dogs. My mom feeds our dog our leftovers or starves her because she doesn’t want to buy dog food. She has ya constantly missing school and will make up an excuse that’s not true. She doesn’t want to buy us books or supplies for our school projects and so my grades started slipping from missing school so much. She’ll disappear to philly or New Jersey and not worry about if we ate or not. But she will make sure she eats. She goes weeks sometimes a whole month before she takes us to do our laundry. Because we don’t have a laundry room at our house. We have to wear school uniforms and we don’t have many so we have to wear our dirty clothes again because we run out of uniforms. Or uniforms aren’t even new. We got them from people who don’t even go to the school anymore. My mom threatens to beat us all the time. She’s lazy and has us working like her slaves. I clean everything in the house. She makes us go to the store for her because she’s too busy in her room smoking weed. She never lets us out with our friends. She doesn’t care about us. She makes us miss school to watch our sick grandma so that she doesn’t have to watch her. So she can party on the weekends. She makes me watch my aunts foster son that she neglects. He always has marks and they don’t change his diaper or shower him. He’s 2 and he sits in a peed stroller that she took out the dumpster. She never cleans it. She doesn’t feed him. She just fills his bottle with milk everytime he’s hungry. I just started a job and my mom is making me pay the water bill. She says if I don’t that I can’t take showers in the house. The bill is $95 a month. And now everytime I get checks she’s trying to take my money. She took my birthday money that my step dad sent me from jail. She’s using it for herself. If my friend doesn’t stay here paying rent, we will be on the streets because my mom can’t pay the rent by herself. She doesn’t want to get a job. She says she can’t because she’s “injured” but every year she plays for a softball team and runs fine so she can easily get a job. She’s just lazy. She let her boyfriend hit my sister and when he got parol for it, she let him stay with us when he was on the run. He does drugs in the same house as us and he had people after him and she let him in the house even though the people had guns. She chooses him over us all the time. She feeds him and helps him out but not us. Everytime my sister does something she doesn’t like, she calls the cops and lies and says my sister tried to kill herself to get her locked up. Even though my sister isn’t suicidal. My younger brother ran away last week and when my mom found him she lied to the cops saying he tried to kill himself so he would be locked up in the hospital so she wouldn’t have to deal with him but my brother has never been suicidal. She just is tired of her ********. My mom was drinking and driving without a license or car insurance and she’s facing a case for it. She also has a warrant for 3 or more parking tickets. Her inspection ran out on her car so she put a cut out number 12 over the 2 so t would look like the cars inspection didn’t run out yet. When my brother ran away, she didn’t wanna call the cops because of her warrants. My friend had to call the cops because my brother could have been in danger because he was 13 driving my moms car out of the state and he ran out of gas and she knew that but still didn’t want to call the cops because of herself. Then she lied to the cops and said she doesn’t drive the car but she drives it all the time. Now she’s driving other peoples cars and she doesn’t have a license or permit. She doesn’t take care of us. She’s always threatening us. We are miserable. Her boyfriend gets out of jail next month and she’s letting him back in the house and things will get worse. I need advice. What can I do to stop her?

          Comment


          • ccsmod5
            ccsmod5 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi,
            Thank you so much for reaching out. It takes a lot of courage to share what’s been going on. It sounds like your mom has treated you and your siblings terribly and you don’t deserve to be treated like that. Ever. It’s just not okay and we’re so sorry that she’s put you in this position. You absolutely deserve to be loved, respected, and cherished in your own home and it’s infuriating that your mother isn’t providing even this bare minimum. We are not legal experts, but generally speaking if your mother is threatening you, hospitalizing you, not feeding you or providing for your basic necessities, this is considered abuse and neglect. You do not deserve to live like this and you have the right to file an abuse report. You can do that by telling a teacher or guidance counselor at school what’s going on. You can also call the National Child Abuse Hotline. This is a confidential hotline that can give you more information about abuse reporting and what might happen if you file an abuse report; they can also give you information about switching custody from your mom to another safer adult. Their number is 1-800-422-4453. Here at NRS, we can also file an abuse report if you need through our hotline or through our chat feature.
            All that being said, we understand if filing an abuse report doesn’t feel like an option for you. Another option is to move in with another adult without your mom’s permission (like a friend or another family member). If you leave without permission, your mom would have the right to file a runaway report. If the police are able to find you, they may bring you home. If it comes to this, however, it might be a good idea to let the police know what’s going on at home.
            Yet another option is to have a friend call your local non-emergency line and ask them to do a wellness check at your address. It could be helpful to have the police witness what’s going on at home (i.e. no food, no toilet paper, mom smoking weed in room) when your mom is unprepared. You can also call anonymously and ask them to do a wellness check.
            Thank you again for reaching out. We hope this was helpful and we encourage you to reach out by phone if you need additional resources or need help figuring out your options. Our number is 1-800-786-2929 and our lines are always open. You are not alone in this. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot, and it’s so brave of you to reach out for help. You deserve all the best, and we hope this information can help.
            If you have a moment, we'd appreciate your feedback of our crisis services at the following link:
            https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think
            Stay safe!

        • #10
          I am 17 years old and will be 18 in two months. I ran away because my adoptive mother was physically and verbally abusive. Now she told me and my younger sisters that if we ever wanted to leave and be with our actual family to go. She said we would need to find a ride but she doesn’t care if we leave. And most recently she said that we can either pay her rent or we can leave ,so we left. She filed a missing persons report and they searched a few houses of our family members but we are out of state now so she can’t find us. I wanted to know can she still force us to go back even with the abuse and her telling us we can go on multiple occasions? Thank you.

          Comment


          • #11
            Reply: I am 17 years old and will be 18 in two months.


            Hello,
            Thank you for writing to us here at the National Runaway Safeline.

            We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. It sounds like even though you have your adoptive told you to go live with family you are worried because now she has filed a missing person’s report.
            We understand the reason you both left. You do not deserve to be abused by any means.
            Getting you and your sister safe sounds like it was a good decision for you.
            With their being a missing/runaway report the police can take actions to return you home if you are located.

            Also, those that a reported runaway stays with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. Anyone found to be assisting or aiding someone to run away may also find themselves at risk legally. For more specifics on the law, you might consider contacting the local non-emergency number for the police. You might also look for a legal aid center in the area. They may be able to answer any legal questions on the subject.


            With that being said you also have the right to file an abuse report with child protective services.

            You can contact .Child Help USA 1-800-422-4453 www.childhelp.org It’s an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. It may also be a good place to explore options for staying with another family member or someone you trust as far as transferring custody.


            We are here to listen and here to help. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time.

            If you would like to talk more about your situation, please call or chat soon.

            Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).

            We look forward to hearing from you.

            Take care,
            NRS
            Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

            National Runaway Safeline
            info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
            1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

            Tell us what you think about your experience!
            https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

            Comment


            • #12
              So I'm 17 years old and I was wondering if I runaway before I'm 18 like 3 months before I'm 18 if they are going to bring me back home.

              Comment


              • ccsmod10
                ccsmod10 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hi there,

                Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to reach out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline. It seems like there must be a lot going on in your life, especially at home, if you’re thinking about leaving home. It’s great that you were able to find out some information about our hotline and if you ever wanted to talk more about your situation, were here!

                We’re unsure how old you are, so we’re going to explain what we know in general terms. As a minor (under the age of 1, you aren't able to leave home without your parents’ permission. We aren’t legal experts, but what generally what typically happens if a minor runs away, is that your parents would be able to make a runaway. You can’t be arrested for running away in some cases we’ve heard of police not taking runaway reports on youth who are close to turning 18. A good way to find out exactly what the police protocols are in your city, would be to reach out to your local non-emergency police. You can ask them hypothetical questions about running away.

                If you give us a call on our 24/7 fully confidential hotline, at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) we could help answer some of those questions you have and could potentially help you brainstorm a solution to the issues you are having. We also have an online chat service available through our website (www.1800runaway.org) if you don’t feel like calling in to talk on the phone.

                Best, NRS

            • #13
              I am 17 years old and will be 18 in may, I live with my dad and adoptive mom. They have told me I'm no longer allowed to speak to my 4 younger siblings because I do not belong to the same religion they do. They are verbally abusive and threaten to beat me on a regular basis. I also bought my car, but bc I'm not 18 it's not in my name, and they had said if I take it when I leave they will call the police and say I stole it, then further tell the police I ran away. Are they able to file that report and have me brought back even with all of that going on?

              Comment


              • ccsmod10
                ccsmod10 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hey there,

                Thanks so much for contacting us, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and share your story. It must be really hard to live into a home with so much tension. Everyone deserves to be respected, and no one deserves to be abused.

                You mentioned that your parents are verbally and psychologically abusive; you don't deserve to be threatened and attacked. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. You may also be able to report any mistreatment to CPS. Child Help USA 1-800-422-4453 www.childhelp.org is an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. It may also be a good place to explore options for staying with another family member or someone you trust as far as transferring custody.

                If you do opt to leave your home your parents can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. Running away is a status offense, which means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you leave and your parents file a runaway report you may be brought back to them if you are located by authorities. Response to runaway reports can vary greatly depending on the area and officer(s) that are involved.

                If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

                All the best,
                NRS

            • #14
              I am 17 years old, I will be 18 in less then 4 months, I live in Pennsylvania, the police will not help me, and neither will children and youth. I was just told by the police that my parents dont have to provide me a bed, I can sleep on the carpet, and that I dont need anything. I need out quick and I need help.
              thank you,
              anonymous.

              Comment


              • ccsmod9
                ccsmod9 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hi there,
                Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. It sounds like you’re quite overwhelmed by things at home right now and you mentioned being harmed. We’re sorry you’re going through this. You don't deserve to be hurt in any way. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. You may also be able to report any mistreatment to CPS. Child Help USA 1-800-422-4453 www.childhelp.org is an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. It may also be a good place to explore options for staying with another family member or someone you trust as far as transferring custody.
                Often, having a safe space to share how you’re feeling may bring a variety of solutions previously not thought of. You are not alone in this. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time.
                If you would like to talk more in detail please chat soon through our website www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button) if you are unable to call in. We unfortunately cannot give advice as we are non-directive. You know your situation best
                We hope to hear from you soon.
                Be safe,
                NRS

            • #15
              I’m 17 I live in PA. Some boy was harassing me and posted it on Facebook so I am getting threatened so I couldn’t go to school today. I deleted my entire Facebook so they would stop but they posted stuff on my moms Facebook. She doesn’t give a ******** about me. I feel unsafe & I am planning to leave to stay with my friend in delaware. Am I able to go to school there or get a job? Or will they just find me and return me home?

              Comment


              • ccsmod3
                ccsmod3 commented
                Editing a comment
                Thank you for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline, we're here to listen and to help. It sounds like there is a lot going on, very sorry to hear that you've been threatened and have had to miss school for this reason. You deserve to feel safe at school. It sounds like your friend is willing to support you in the ways that you feel unsupported by your mother. If you were to live with your friend, it is possible that you could enroll in school, but you would need your guardian's permission and consent to do this. If you left home and your mom wanted you to return home, it is possible that she could file a runaway report, whereby the police would attempt to return you home. A resource that may be helpful for you is the McKinney Vento Act, which gives rights to homeless youth for education- could be worth looking up online. Also the National Center for Homeless Educational Helpline 1-800-308-2145. You've taken a great first step by reaching out to us, and we would love to talk to you more in depth about your situation and discuss options/create a safe plan. Please feel free to call or chat with us online at any time- 1800-RUNAWAY, www.1800runaway.org.
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