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  • leaving home

    Is it legal to leave home at 17 in the state of New York.

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    RE: leaving home


    Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Switchboard. It sounds like you are looking into your legal options in New York. There are some things to consider regarding running away. Do you have a safe place to go? What would you do to survive? Do you have other options? Have you ever looked into emancipation? Although laws vary from state to state, at age 17 you are still technically under your legal guardian’s care.

    Do you think your guardian would call the police if you left? While running away isn’t technically illegal, if your guardian were to file a runaway report, anyone that you would be staying with could possibly be charged with ‘harboring a runaway’. We cannot give legal advice since we are not lawyers, but we can help you explore options and offer you any resources that could be helpful during this difficult time.

    We are always available 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY and are confidential, anonymous and toll-free. We can also be reached by live chat at, from 4:30 pm- 11:30 pm CST. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you the 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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