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    My half-sister is 16 and lives in Texas with her father. I am 23 and live in Pennsylvania on my own. Our mother is not in the picture due to heavy drug abuse, which is why her father moved her out to Texas. He has since married a Russian women who verbally/mentally abuses my sister. Her father also neglects her and they live in a double wide trailer. I am fully capable of providing for her, but I want to know what my options are. If she runs away and comes to me will there be repercussions? If she refuses to go home after her 2 week vacation with me can this backfire? If I decide to fight for custody what would that entail and what criteria would I have to meet in order to do this? What are my options to save and protect my little sister? I would love for her to live with me and I know I can take care of her I just don't know what I need to do to make it happen or what would be the best option, most cost savings or what would be the least stressful option. Please Help

  • #2

    Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Switchboard. We are sorry to hear about the situation that your sister is currently in. It sounds like you are willing and capable of providing her with a safe place. If your sister left home without receiving permission from her father, he can and has the right to file a runaway report. Once a runaway report is filed it is then entered into a national law enforcement database. Since we do not have a legal background, we can’t explain the criteria needed to receive custody. You mentioned that your sister is verbally and mentally abused as well as neglected. Has child protective services ever been contacted? We can provide information for some legal aid services in your state; they might be able to answer some of your legal questions with regards to being granted custody of your sister. Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network is an agency that provides legal information to clients; they can be reached at 717-236-9486 and their web address is

    In addition to contacting them, you may also give us a call toll-free at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). Our hotline is confidential, anonymous, and available 24 hours 7 days. We will be able to discuss things with you in more depth, discuss additional options, and provide alternative resources if needed.
    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)

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