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I want to run from my home at 16

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  • I want to run from my home at 16

    I want to run from my home and live with aunt. my dad is onboard with the idea but my mom would raise hell about it (they are in the middle of a divorce), I am fleeing to a more stable environment that makes me feel more comfortable, so would the police get involved and could I legally protect myself in anyway from having to return?

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for reaching out to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We are sorry to hear about the situation you are in and we are glad to hear that you seem to have stability and support by staying with your aunt. It sounds like at this time, you are feeling most comfortable staying with your aunt and your dad has expressed consent for you to do so. We recognize that you are saying your mother would have an otherwise negative response to you staying with your aunt. Please know that we are not legal experts, but we do have a general understanding of the laws surrounding runaway situations. In this case, it is to our general understanding that an individual is not considered a legal adult until the age of 18. Therefore, the individual's parent/guardian is the one responsible for the individual's life (including their living situation, etc.) It sounds like you are asking what would happen if you were to stay at your aunt's anyway, without consent from your mother. Again, we are unfortunately not legal experts. However, as long as your parents have custody of you, they would be able to file a runaway report with the police and if they know the location you are at, the police may show up with intent to bring you home. From there, it tends to vary how the situation is handled, but it would ultimately be up to the police officer what they do from there. You have every right to talk with the officer in the event that this were to happen and you could see what they say regarding the situation. However, either one of your parents may then have the ability to press charges against your aunt for "harboring a runaway" if they were to decide to do so.

    If you would like to talk further about this with us, where we can provide further support for you or potentially look into additional resources that may be helpful, please feel welcome to contact us by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY or visit our online chat service, found on our website at

    Wishing you all of the best ahead,
    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
      Hi, im 16 years old and i want to run away. i live in california so i know the legal age is 16 and im not sure about emancipation because my parents wont let me get a job. Im tired of home life its stressful and im always getting yelled at for something i didnt do, or even hit. So I wanna move away got to like texas or something but i dont want the police to come looking for me, and i also dont want to get put in like cps if my parents decide to say thy dont want me. my parents are very petty like that. What should i do?


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you so much for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It certainly sounds like home life is pretty hard to handle right now which is NEVER easy for someone your age. Being 16 is usually the time for parents to ease up on control and let their kids get some freedom which doesn’t appear to be going on for you.

        While running away may seem like a great solution there’s a lot to think about like finding a safe place to stay, having money to buy the essentials, and knowing how to stay away from people who might try to take advantage of yon on the streets. According to what I have found on a simple internet search of California Runaway Laws, while it is not a crime to run away, you must be 18 or legally emancipated to move out of your parents’ home. Also, your parents can file a report with the police which could then open it up to legal issues, especially if you cross state lines or stay with people over 18, who may get in trouble for ‘harboring a minor.’ Looking at emancipation, not only is it a legal situation which requires an attorney, it also requires that you can prove that you can take care of yourself financially which would be hard to do without a job. (Please note NRS is not affiliated with any legal organization—all the above is cited from a search on the internet.)

        If possible, it would be great if you could reach out to us at via our chat option or at 1-800-786-2929 should you want to speak to someone personally. That way, we could chat and get a bit more information about your situation. We have a database of resources that we could look at which may provide options to you in better dealing with what you’re going through from therapists to TLPs (Transitional Living Programs) located close to where you are currently living.

        Thanks again for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. Hope to hear from you soon!

        National Runaway Safeline
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