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Helping a runaway friend?

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  • Helping a runaway friend?

    I am a legal adult and I live in my own home. A very close friend of mine lives in an abusive household (mentally and physically), but her legal guardians won't consent for her to leave and stay with ANYONE else.

    She is about to turn 16. I live in Michigan, she is in New York State.

    I know I can get in trouble for helping her, I've been doing a lot of research. She really wants to be with me, and I really want her to be with me. We know each other really well, so I know I would be able to help her because I understand her, so I'd really like to be the person to help her after leaving her home. (We already do help each other) Is there anything that I can do? I really want to get her out of where she is and put her up.

    Mainly, I want to let her live with me, and she wants to live with me. I'm worried about what could happen. Is there something I can do to NOT get in legal trouble for helping out my friend in need??

    Also, I've heard that someone who is "harboring a runaway" is contacted in advance of being charged for such? Is this true? I just want to know what to prepare for if this all happens.

    Thank you so much!

  • #2
    RE: Helping a runaway friend?

    Hello, and thanks for reaching out to us.

    It sounds like you have a serious matter you are facing, with potential legal ramifications, and you are unsure how to proceed. You state that you are a legal adult, over 18, and you have a friend who is a minor and is being abused at home. You state that you live in Michigan and your friend is in New York. You state that your friend wants to run away from home in order to stay safe, and you have a place for your friend. However, you are unsure what may happen if you are found with your friend in your home, or if you may be charged with Harboring A Runaway.

    This is a difficult situation, and we are glad you contacted us tonight. Your friend is lucky to have someone like you in their life, trying to help as much as possible.

    We are not legal experts, but it sounds like contacting a legal expert might be helpful. Is that something you would like to do? We respect your right to self-determination, and don’t tell anyone what to do, so it is entirely your choice. However, if you choose to explore the option of contacting legal aid options, here are a couple places I was able to look up in our database:

    Advocates for Children of New York, Inc.
    (212) 947-9779
    151 W. 30th St., 5th Fl.
    New York, NY 10001
    Advocates for Children of New York works on behalf of children who are at greatest risk for school-based discrimination and/or academic failure due to poverty, disability, race, ethnicity, immigrant or English Language Learner status, homelessness, or involvement in the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

    Free Legal Aid Clinic
    (313) 832-4530
    5435 Woodward Ave.
    Detroit, MI 48202

    Hopefully this is helpful for you. If you want to continue this conversation, explore other options, or have us look up resources, we are available 24 hours a day, every day, at 1-800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929). If you decide to contact us, we will be here to help.

    Best wishes,
    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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