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Friend (20) is thinking about running away

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  • Friend (20) is thinking about running away

    I am a legal adult in college, and my friend who is disabled and is having troubles at home wants to run away soon. They recently brought up the possibility of them staying at my dorm for a few days since it is allowed. Since we are both legal adults, will they get branded a runaway and would I get prosecuted for harboring them?

  • #2
    Hello there –

    Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to reach out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline and posting on our public forum. By helping you during your crisis, hopefully there are other youth that are in similar situations can read this for help as well.

    Looks like you have a very specific question about running away from home. Like you have seen in a lot of our post here, we aren’t legal experts by any means and cannot tell you exactly what will happen. We go based on what we hear from callers and reaching out to local police. What typically happens in each state is if you are below the legal age of majority your parents would be able to make a runaway report in the event that you do run away. In most states, if you are 18 years old or older, you are considered an adult. Now considering the information above, since you and your friend are 18 years old or over you would be considered a legal adult and can’t be forced home and your parents can’t file a runaway report with the police as you leaving home won't be considered "running away". You are simply just leaving home to live in another location.

    Now if your friend hasn’t told them where they are or have cut all communication with them, they can call the police still but to file a missing person’s report rather than a runaway report. It wouldn’t affect them at all though because they don’t normally come up on background checks. They can always go to the police and tell them that they aren’t missing. Again, as an adult, they have the right to decide where they live and their parents cannot force them to do anything. Alternatively, if your friend does cut out their parents completely you would be burning a bridge that you might not be able to cross back if things don’t work out for you at the place you plan on moving into.

    Hope this helps!
    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
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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