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  • Hello.

    Being 18 in 3 months, what might happen if I tell my mom where I am and decide to leave without her permition? What would the police do if they show up at my house? Is there any way I can legally stay there? What are my rights?

  • #2
    Re: Hello.

    Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Switchboard through our bulletin board. We are glad that you came here to ask your questions and receive some feedback. It sounds like there is a lot going on at home if you are considering leaving. It’s never easy to make these decisions alone and we hope that you are able to find support. Have you talked with anyone else about why you want to leave? Sometimes it can be helpful to talk about what’s going on. Do you have any adults in your life that you feel safe and comfortable reaching out to? We are definitely here to support you through this process.

    The questions that you have about your rights and options are very thoughtful. It seems like you are really thinking ahead to what can happen if you make certain decisions. Unfortunately, because we are not legal experts, we can’t answer your specific questions directly. In most states you are still considered a minor until the age of 18, which means that your mom would have legal rights and responsibilities until your 18th birthday. If you decide to leave without her permission, you may be considered a runaway. In many places, running away itself is not against the law, but depending on where you stay, the people you stay with might put themselves at risk for getting in legal trouble.

    Some options that you have are to contact your local police department. If you call the non-emergency number, they will be able to discuss specific laws and regulations in your area. Additionally, if you contact the National Runaway Switchboard via telephone 1-800-RUNAWAY (24 hours a day/7 days a week) or chat (4:30-11:30pm CST), we can connect you with legal aid resources in your area. We hope that you’ll be able to find the answers that you are looking for and again, please don’t hesitate to contact the National Runaway Switchboard for further support.

    Best of luck to you,
    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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