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Running Away At 17

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  • Running Away At 17

    I turn 17 on November 15, 2019.
    I have been living with my grandfather since 2016 but due to unfortunate circumstances (involving being arrested on his part) I have no choice but to return to my mother. I had a job in my old town and I have a place to stay, with my best friend, should I choose to return.
    The problem is, my mom said I can’t move out at 17. If I snuck out and returned to my old town and lived with my best friend, what would the consequences be? I can financially support myself, and as stated before I would have a stable living environment.
    Signed,
    16 and Stressed

  • #2
    Hey there,

    Thanks for reaching out to us, it certainly seems like you are going through a lot right now, and it’s understandable to want to stay where you feel most comfortable and secure. It seems like there is some tough circumstances at your mom’s house that make it feel more reasonable for you to stay at your friend’s. It’s tough that your mom isn’t willing to give you permission to live at your friends’ when you can be self-sustaining. So it’s understandable that you wish to look at your options.
    Laws will vary state-by-state, so it is possible that your state considers you an adult at 17. You can simply google “age of majority in ________" to find out what age that is for your state. If you are not considered an adult at 17 then if you snuck out your mom could file a runaway report. This is known as a status offence, and means that if police find you they will take you back home. The people that you are staying with could potentially face charges of harboring a runaway as well. We are not legal experts though so it may be worth it to check your local laws. This charge is usually a misdemeanor.
    Another option that you can look into is emancipation. This is a legal process that proves to the state that you can be self-sufficient to the point that you can make decisions for yourself as an adult. We are not legal experts, but usually this will let you live where you want, open your own bank account, or sign a lease for an apartment etc. The requirements for emancipation can also vary state to state, and some states simply don’t have their own program either. Often though, they do require parent approval.

    Again thanks for reaching out, hopefully this information is helpful. If you have more questions we are always available on the phone at 1-800-786-2929, or you can chat with us online through our website. We wish you good luck, and we hope that you get to a place your happy with.
    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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