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I'm 17, turning 18 in January. I want to run away as soon as I do. Advice?

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  • I'm 17, turning 18 in January. I want to run away as soon as I do. Advice?

    Hi, I'm a 17 year old girl and I'm turning 18 in January. I've wanted to leave home for a while because my family is torn apart by drug addiction and constant fights. Every night I'm unable to sleep because of them. As much as I love them, I'm so afraid of them.

    I have a place I can go. My boyfriend lives in another state, pretty far away from me. He's promised to come get me as soon as I'm able to get away. I want to move out as soon as I'm 18, but that would mean I'd need to change schools and find a job in my boyfriend's state and I don't know how to do that. Any advice would be helpful right now.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thanks for contacting NRS and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you with figuring out your next steps in this difficult situation. Asking for help was really responsible and smart of you. We are sorry to hear things are so unstable at home. You deserve to live somewhere that makes you feel safe and supported.

    Leaving can be a big decision to make, but you have already taken some steps to get the support you may need. Having a solid plan about what you are planning on doing might be a good idea so that you can think about what will and will not be possible and work for you. Considering certain factors and aspects for your plan might help you make your decisions about your next steps: where are you going to be living, what's your role in the house, are you going to be working/going to school, will you be paying your share of the bills/rent, a back-up plan in case your living arrangement does not work out and you need to leave.

    Your right to an education is protected by the McKinney Vento Act. If you are having any issues enrolling in school, you can find the McKinney Vento advocate to contact for your new school through the National Center for Homeless Education, If you need help obtaining your vital documents or getting replacements, you can find out more information here . Your vital documents will be necessary for enrolling in school and getting a job. It may be easier to get these documents while still in your home state.

    Taking this step toward independence can be a huge step to take and we want you to be as safe as possible when making your decision. We are here 24/7 to listen and help. If you have more questions or you would like to talk more in detail about your plan, please do not hesitate to reach out anytime by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at

    Good luck and stay safe,
    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!


    • #3

      I am 17 and turning 18 in november. I have been thinking about leaving for a long time. I have a plan set up to where i will go. if i leave when im 18, can my parents report me? Will i be registered as missing? I just need to know so i can plan.


      • ccsmod0
        ccsmod0 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there,

        When you turn 18 you are more than likely considered a legal adult which means that you can move out if you want to and you won’t be considered a runaway. As a legal adult, you have a right to make your own decisions about where you live. We can help you make a plan for how to deal with your situation and help you find resources to land on your feet. Having a plan for where you will live and how you will survive once you move out can be very helpful. Moving can be a huge step, and you don’t have to be alone. Some steps you can take towards independence might be to find employment if you don’t have an income, or to save up money for moving expenses. It can also be helpful to research rents in your area, find a roommate, or make a budget. Another thing you might want to consider is what kinds of things you depend on your parents for currently such as tuition expenses for school, or health insurance, and whether they would continue to provide those things after you leave. There may be social service agencies in your area that can help meet some of these needs, such as Transitional Living Programs, a kind of shelter where young adults can live and get services to help them transition to independent living. We are here to listen and help however we can.

        Best of luck,

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