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17 year old Runaway from VA

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  • 17 year old Runaway from VA

    Hi,

    I have a few questions about my situation, but I'm unsure of who to ask.

    I'm a 17 year old runaway from Virginia, It has been almost two years since the day I ran away. To this day, I have not done anything illegal, including drinking, driving, (because without a liscense its illegal), smoking, drugs or anything. I have an apartment and a steady job. I am no longer living in the state of Virginia.

    What I want to know is if I enroll in High School here, what would happen to me? I would like to go to college one day, but I have to finish High School first, and I'd rather not have a GED. My freshman year of high school I finished all my credits for math, took 11 grade science, english, and 12 grade social studies, along with AP human geography and a variety of other courses.

    I would also like to know what is done to 17 year old runaways when found. Would I be left here in peace? Will they ship me back to VA? Are there any laws protecting me? Are there any laws sayng I MUST go back?

    A bit of backround...

    I moved with my father at the age of 8. Up until then I was living with my mother, but she left me when she married for the 2nd time. At the age of 8, a mere two months after living with my father I became suicidal. He hit me, yelled at me, got drunk every single day. I attempted to commit suicide about every 6 or 7 months until the age of 12. I lived with three sisters as well. They used to do things, and blame it on me, and that just made it worse. In grade 6, I attempted to runaway. I was in hiding for 3 weeks before I got caught. I told the police everything and got to live with a foster parent for 2 weeks. Then they sent me straight back home. He got a letter saying that he got charged with child neglect. That was it. A letter. A social worker was supposed to come and check on me. She never did.
    A week before I left, my father beat me with a beer bottle. he accused me of using my sisters money in the bank. Money that I had completely NO access to being that I was barred from using the internet or even going outside besides school. I had a sprained or twisted ankle, a bad wrist, two black eyes, bruises all over my body, blood all over my face, and a million memories.
    One night I just decided to leave. I couldnt walk very well and I was ridiculously conspicuous but I left anyway and Ive been gone since.
    I know the police are still looking for me. I have proof but I'd rather not share.

    I feel like I could be busted soon. I want to know my rights. What can I do? How can I stay safe? What do they have the right to do?

  • #2
    Thank you for reaching out and contacting the National Runaway Switchboard. It sounds like you have been through a lot and have been taking care of yourself for a long time. We are glad that you have reached out for assistance and would like to say that it sounds like you have been very brave the last two years. Unfortunately, we are not legally trained and wouldn’t be able to give you specific answers to your questions. However, we may be able to provide you with some resources to help you out further.

    We are sorry to hear that you didn’t have a very good relationship with your parents and that your father was so abusive toward you. We are glad to hear that you were able to remain safe through that whole time; nobody deserves to experience any sort of abuse or to feel afraid in their own home. Unfortunately though, until you are 18 years old, you are still considered a minor. So, if you were to try enrolling in school, they may notify local police or child protective services but again, we can’t tell you for sure. There is a federal program though, the McKinney-Vento act, that allows for all youth to attend school. One way to find more information about this is to contact your local school and ask to speak with the McKinney-Vento coordinator.

    It sounds like you are also concerned about what may happen if you were to be located by the police. Unfortunately, since you are still considered a minor, the police may contact your dad to let him know where you are. They may then return you to him. But, in some states, when a youth is 17, the police consider them to be an adult and don’t pick them up or return them home. Again, we aren’t legally trained here so we can’t tell you for sure what would happen. One place that may be able to give you some more concrete answers in Justice for Children; their number is 1-800-733-0059.

    Also, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) and are completely confidential and anonymous. We also have a chat that is available from 4:30 PM-11:30 PM (CST), 7 days a week if you would like to talk with someone that way.

    We look forward to hearing from you and wish you the best of luck.

    ~NRS
    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
    info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi,
      Thank you so much for your help, I will look into the resources right now.
      I hope you understand how much I appreciate the help.

      Comment


      • #4
        RE: 17 year old Runaway from VA

        Hello, and thanks for the kind words. We're glad you feel better, and that you are planning to access those resources.

        We are more than happy to help you any time you need us. We're here for you 24 hours a day, every day, at 1-800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929). Feel free to contact us again.

        Best wishes,
        ~NRS
        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
        info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
        1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

        Tell us what you think about your experience!
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm 17 years old. My boyfriend and I live with my mother in Virginia. What could my mom possibly do if we moved out and got a trailor or something?

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for reaching out to us; it sounds like you are thinking of leaving home but want to make sure that you have covered all your bases before leaving. It’s great that you have contacted us and hopefully we can help you out.

            It sounds like you are currently living with your mom and boyfriend in VA but want to leave and get a place of your own. Can you tell us a bit more about what’s going on at home that makes you want to leave?

            Here at the National Runaway Safeline, we are not legally trained so we can’t say for sure what would happen if you were to leave home. It is our general understanding though that if a youth leaves home before turning 18, their legal guardian may have the option to file a runaway report with the local police department. If your mom does that and the police locate you, they may take you home or to the police department to call your mom. Running away though is generally considered to be a status offense which is something that you can’t do because you are a minor. Do you think that your mom would file a report?

            Here at the National Runaway Safeline, we are a confidential and anonymous crisis line for youth so you can call us at anytime to talk more about what’s going on or to explore what other resources may be available to you. Our 24 hour hotline is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) but we also have online chat services that are available from 4:30 PM-11:30 PM (CST), 7 days a week; that can be found on our website (www.1800runaway.org).

            We look forward to hearing from you and wish you the best of luck!

            ~NRS
            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
            info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
            1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

            Tell us what you think about your experience!
            https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi My. Son is 17 will be. 18 in Jan, he. Lives in Virginia, with his father
              his father and I have talked and made a decision that once he finished his junior year of high school ( May 23, 2017) he could come live with me in Indiana, now my son said his father changed his mind, but my son still wants me to go get him so he can live with me,
              what will happen if i go get him? I need answer cause i cant afford to get in to any trouble.

              Comment


              • ccsmod7
                ccsmod7 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hello there, thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline.

                It sounds like a tough situation to be in and we’re glad that you contacted us today for help.

                While we are not legal experts, harboring a runaway is considered a misdemeanor and if you don’t want to get into any type of trouble that is something we wouldn’t recommend you do. There are several things to consider, such as: who has custody of your son, what made your son’s father change his mind, etc. We are happy to speak with you over the phone to further discuss these. We also welcome your son to give us a call so we can also provide him with support.

                We’re here to help. If you or your son would like to call so we can talk through some of the details, you can call us 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY or he could reach out to us via chat at www.1800runaway.org

                Best,

                NRS

            • #8
              Hello. Ive been considering leaving my home. Im 17 my 18th birthday is in about 7 weeks. Im currently in the foster care system. Im pregnant. I do have the means to support myself. The current foster home im in is not suitable for me to reside there any longer. Ive been trying to let things go just wait it out till i turn 18. But the situation is causing to much stress on me which is unhealthy for my child. Im willing to just wait it out till i graduate in 3 weeks. My foster parents have been talking about kicking me out. I do not believe me moving to a new home will help me out in the long run. And if they kick me out now that could effect if i will be able to graduate or not. So im hoping they will not do it. Im wondering if i do not get caught till im 18 will i get in any legal trouble. Im a resident in Virginia i dont know if that will help or not.

              Comment


              • ccsmod1
                ccsmod1 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hello,

                Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like you are pregnant and you are hoping to move out of your current foster home about a month before you turn 18. It sounds like you have a lot of conflict with your foster parents and they are thinking about kicking you out. That does sound very stressful, which must be really hard to deal with while you are pregnant and trying to finish up and graduate from high school. It is illegal for your foster parents to kick you out before you turn 18, so if that does happen you may want to contact your case worker or social worker about the situation, and you may want to let your school guidance counselor know about your housing situation so that they can work with you to help you finish school. It sounds like you don’t want a new placement, but would rather live on your own, which is understandable. We are not legal experts however we can provide some general info that may help you with your decision. If you do run away without permission before your 18th birthday, you could be considered a runaway. Your guardian may call the police and report you missing, and the police may search for you and make you go back home. Running away is not a crime and you probably wouldn’t be in legal trouble just for running away. Since you are close to turning 18, you may be more likely to get away with leaving home, however you still run the risk of police involvement and being returned to foster care. This risk goes away once you turn 18. It sounds like you feel you are able to support yourself, however if you need any resources, you can always give us a call any time 24/7, or reach out to us online for live chat. We can talk through your options, help find resources, and help you make a plan to deal with your situation and stay safe. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon, and wish you the best of luck.

            • #9
              I'm 17 and I'll be 18 In about 5 months and 2 weeks can I leave home my mom has died and she had full custody nobody has custody now so can I leave? What happens if I do? I'm in the state of Virgina.

              Comment


              • ccsmod2
                ccsmod2 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hey there,

                If you have questions or concerns about custody and whether or not you are now considered a legal adult, you can reach out to your local legal aid office or non emergency police for help. You may also be able to gain some valuable information from the juvenile court in your area that deals with child custody issues.

                Best of luck,
                NRS

            • #10
              Hi I'm 17 I'll be 18 February 12th of 2018 I live with my mom and step dad we have a lot of issues because I tend to make little mistakes like missing a curfew or two, they don't know how to handle it and they began to physically lash out sometimes. If they kick me out can they later file a report that says I just up and left

              Comment


              • ccsmod15
                ccsmod15 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hello, we’re glad you reached out to us today. It’s brave to reach out for support and it’s great you took that step. We’re here to support you and here to listen.
                No one deserves to be physically hurt. You can call us at National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-786-2929 and we can explore your options. We are a safe and confidential place to talk about what’s going on at home. If you decide you want to report physical abuse you can choose to disclose identifying information *if* you want us to file a report for you. If you want to file a report we can talk about what that would look like.
                We aren’t legal experts and can’t give legal advice, but if you want to call us we can provide legal resources for your area. Laws are different from state to state and county to county. We can call the local police department with you if you’d like to get some answers from your local police department on how they would handle your situation. It would be confidential as we would call from our phone number. We can also explore your options to stay safe if your mom and step dad kick you out.
                We are here to talk 24/7 so you can call anytime at 1-800-786-2929. We’re here to listen and here to help.

            • #11
              Why do you do with an unruly ungovernable 17.5yo that constantly runs away for no reason other than the rules?

              Comment


              • ccsmod6
                ccsmod6 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hi,

                Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out to us tonight. That definitely sounds like a stressful situation and we appreciate you reaching out for help. Normally what we would recommend for this type of situation is a program called MINS/CHINS which stands for minor in need of services or child in need of services. Every state has a different type of program in place but generally it's a court procedure that tries to help the youth and their family members.

                If you'd like, you can call into our hotline and we can talk more about what the process looks like in your specific state and even give you some numbers to call. You can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY, we are 24/7 so someone will always be here to answer and help in the best way that we can.

            • #12
              Hi , I have been in alot of trouble through out the years and my dad recently moved to Atlanta and I stay with my uncle. My grandmother has physical custody of me and I want to get emancipated when I graduate next month. I have a job and I have been asked to become a roommate with some one. I want to know could I get in trouble for leaving even though the law says since im considered a adult if I leave they can not make me come back. They are also abusive both mentally , verbally and physically

              Comment


              • ccsmod2
                ccsmod2 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hello There,
                Thank you for contacting The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It takes a lot of courage to reach out and we are glad you gathered up the courage to reach out. It sounds like you are going through a pretty difficult time right now. You mentioned your family being abusive, any type of abuse is unacceptable and you do not deserve to be treated that way. If you wish to file and abuse report you may call The Child Helpline at: 1800-422-4453. We know that sometimes making abuse reports can be scary, if you would like to call us we can help you make the abuse report. You also mentioned Emancipation, the process varied from state to state. Often times Emancipation can take 6 months to a year and can sometimes be costly. If the law states you are an adult, your parents or legal guardians cannot force you to come home. Also if you leave home as a legal adult, you would not be getting in trouble for leaving. We hope this information helps you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to discuss your situation more please feel free to give us a call at any time. We wish you the best of luck in your situation.
                NRS
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