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I'm 14 and want to leave home. Can I do this legally?

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  • I'm 14 and want to leave home. Can I do this legally?

    Hello, I'm a 14, I'll be 15 over the summer, and I'm living in Oregon. My mom and my dad are emotionally abusive and manipulative. Even though they constantly say they love me they don't let me go out of the house and if they do, I'm on my own to find food/rides. I also recently came out to them as non-binary (big mistake) and they are extremely unsupportive. I feel like I'm constantly looking over my shoulder and I have zero privacy. I can't win. My mental health has been awful and my parents forced me to stop seeing my therapist and took away my phone so I feel like I have no way to reach out for help when I'm struggling with self-harm or depression. I was considering living with a friend and her family, but I don't want them to get in trouble. If I tell my parents where I am can they still file a missing person's report? Would my friend's parents get in trouble if I'm able to leave when I want to and they're not keeping me there? Is there any way emancipation can happen before 16/without parent consent? Please help.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    We want to thank you for reaching out to us here at National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like there is a lot going on at home that has been taking a large emotional toll on you. Please know that we are here to provide support in any way that we can. You deserve to feel respected as an individual as well as supported by your parents. Based on the information you have shared with us, it sounds like you are in search of ways to continue to receive support that you had from your therapist before your parents terminated your communication with them.

    We would first and foremost like to provide you with the contact information for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as "NAMI," which can be reached by phone call at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). We also would like to share the contact information for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, whose phone number is 1-800-273-8255. They also have a CHAT option on their website at We empower you to utilize these resources during the times you struggle with your depression and self harm and need an immediate contact.

    It sounds like you have quite a bit of questions surrounding the laws behind running away. Unfortunately, we are not legal experts but we can certainly provide you with resources that may be able to answer those questions more specifically for you. As far as our general knowledge goes, it is unfortunately illegal for you to live with anyone other than your legal guardians. If you were to leave and stay with a friend or a family member but told your parents about it, they could still contact the police and ask them to bring you home. From there, it would be in the police's hands. Any person whose house you go to could also risk getting charged for "harboring a runaway," if your parents were to decide to press charges. Again, please note that these outcomes are not certain, but are possibilities of an outcome. Emancipation laws may vary based on your area and we could provide you with contact information for legal aid in your area who may be able to assist you with those questions.

    We welcome you to contact us via CHAT on our website at or by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY. Our services run on a 24/7 basis, so you may contact us at any time and speak with someone on our crisis support team, who can work through some of these options and ideas with you. In the meantime, we wish you strength, health, and safety. We look forward to having the opportunity to speak further with you.

    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 around your age, it is currently 1am. I plan to run away at around 6am after sunrise, but i do not have any trusted friends. Do you have any suggestions on where i can stay? Hotels require ids.


      • ccsmod1
        ccsmod1 commented
        Editing a comment

        We appreciate you reaching out to us here at National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you may be close to the age of 14, but not quite. We recognize that you have made a plan to leave home quite immediately but do not have anywhere to go. You are correct that hotels require ID's and most hotels require a person to be 21 to purchase a room. Options on where to go may be slim, depending on what is in your area. You could contact youth shelters in your area to see if they accept your age group and ask them what they require. Typically, youth shelters require a signature from the youth's guardian for consent.

        We welcome you to reach out to us through our online CHAT on our website at or to give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We could take a closer look with you at the situation and options that you might have. Please know that we value your safety and we encourage you to please call 911 if you find yourself in imminent danger. We look forward to the opportunity to talk further with you.

        Be safe,
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