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Can I runaway at 15?

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  • Can I runaway at 15?

    Alright so technically this is for my best friend.

    My friend (we'll call him Jake for now) has put up with a lot of crap from his family. Through they years his mom and physically and emotionally abused him. She's beat him/ripped his shirt I a car so he had to walk home like that, literally wrote down in a journal TALKIG about her plans of killing him, downright denied his transgenderness/ buying him girl stuff, pulled him out of school and isolated him, wouldn't let him talk to his friends even though he was extremely suicidal and needed to talk to someone, left him at a drug party when we were in second grade, verbally abused him, and the rest of his family helps cover it up.

    So just recently he went to prom with his girlfriend, who's moms posted of Facebook. She flipped out and basically forced them to take it down and said she's horrified that most of her family has seen the pictures. Well now Jake is done with all the abuse he's been putting up with, and his friends mom is gonna call CPS on his mom. But if nothing happenes and the abuse gets worse, I'm wondering, can he legally runaway? His dad is an alcoholic and his mom is on drugs, so legally would it be ok if he ranaway and got adopted by his friends parents?

    (They live in Maryland by the way)

  • #2
    Re: Can I runaway at 15?

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for reaching out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like things have been really difficult for your friend and we’re sorry to hear about all of this. We’re really glad that you reached out, it takes a lot to ask for help, it’s really brave of you.
    It sounds like your friend has had a difficult time being accepted by their family which has to be extremely tough. Your friend deserves to be accepted for how they identify. The GLBT National Hotline can be reached here: (888 ) 843 4564 and the Trans Lifeline at (877) 565 8860, which may be helpful hotlines for your friend. You shared that they have experienced abuse. No one deserves to be abused in any way, your friend has the right to feel safe in their own home with their family. It sounds like your friend’s mom is going to be calling CPS. He does have the right to make an abuse report. Another resource that you may be able to contact is Child Help USA at (800) 422 4453. Your friend can also call us at (800) RUNAWAY (786 2929) and we can make a report together or explore that option further.

    You shared that your friend’s dad is an alcoholic and his mom is on drugs. It can be really difficult to live with individuals who are active in addiction. There are some resources that may be helpful for your friend living in this situation: Families Anonymous (800) 736 9805, and Ala Teen which you can explore here:

    We’re not legal experts, but generally speaking if you leave home without permission from legal guardians before the age of 18, legal guardians have the right to make a runaway report. If a report is made, and the police find you they typically would just bring you back home. However, anyone that you stay with could potentially be charged for harboring. You asked about your friend getting adopted which is a great question. To become adopted, legal guardians would have to give up guardianship.

    Please do not hesitate to call or chat with us, or pass along our information to your friend. We’re here 24/7 to support you the best that we can.

    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)
    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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