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  • Need Help

    Hey, I'm 16, turning 17 in December and i already graduated high school and have m high school diploma, lately I've been having nothing but problems with my parents and it's really made me think more about my education and i want to go on to college, i was wondering if she can stop me? If i was paying for college myself, without their help would they be able to make me stay at home or can i go to another city?

  • #2

    Hello there,

    We’re glad you decided to reach out to us at the National Runaway Switchboard. We aren’t legal experts, so we aren’t for certain what will happen, but can provide you with some general information. We are also very sorry to hear that your mom and step-dad are very physically abusive. No one deserves to be abused regardless of the type of abuse. One organization you might find helpful if you’ve experienced past abuse is Child Help USA. You can visit their website, or call them at 1-800-422-4453. They can talk to you about abuse and if you decide you’d like to report it, they can direct you where to go as well. We are also here to help if you’d like to report any abuse.

    You ask a lot of questions about what you’d be able to do at your age. Generally speaking, there are minimum age requirements to do certain things like get an apartment or stay in a hotel. There are also limitations for how much minors can work which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor. They offer information on their website which can be found here: Sometimes runaway youth are able to stay temporarily in a runaway/homeless youth shelter. They will pretty much always need to contact a parent/guardian at some point, but that window of time may vary anywhere from immediately to 72 hours. If you are interested in finding out if there are any shelters nearby, a good starting point can be National Safe Place. If you go to their website,, and click on your state you can find participating “safe place” shelters.

    You are also more than welcome to contact us directly to continue talking about your situation. We can be reached 24/7 by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). Or, if you are more comfortable you can try our Live Chat from 4:30 to 11:30 pm CST. (Just click on the big red “Live Chat” button on our website, We hope that helps and that you are able to keep yourself safe in the meantime. Best of luck!

    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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