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17 1/2 runaway in California laws ??

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  • 17 1/2 runaway in California laws ??

    My brother ranaway at 16 in San Jose he went to Corning California. My dad said when he called the cops to report it once they found out his age they told him that anyone over 16 they cannot make them go home unless they're at risk, even if they know where the kid is at. They told my dad that this is law in the whole state. I'm 17 1/2 and I plan on moving out in the next couple weeks. I don't want to be charged as a runaway, and I don't want to be forced to go home. I will be 18 in 5 months and I understand that I'm still a minor however I'm graduated from high school and I have a place to go. If I tell them where I am going I don't want to get the people in trouble, and I don't want to be forced to go home so I'm asking if this law is true for San Bernardino County as well. Thanks. p.s. they never made my brother go home and they knew where he was too.

  • #2
    re: 17 1/2 runaway in California laws ??


    Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Switchboard. Generally speaking, anyone under the age of 18 can be reported as a runaway; how much this is enforced can vary by county or city. Since you are 17 and 5 months away from your 18th birthday, the police may or may not take a report. The law does vary from region to region and so does the degree that is enforced. It may be best to contact the non emergency hotline for the police department in San Bernardino County to determine if they would take a runaway report for a 17 ½ year old. Remember that even though a runaway report may be accepted, the police don’t generally actively search for runaways. We hope the information provided helps. If you have any other questions or would like for us to conference call resources, you can give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929).

    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!


    • #3
      I'm Almsot going to be 17 1/2 , I live in anaheim . If I leave my house once I'm 17 and 5 months, will I be forced to go home ???


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello, thanks for posting! It sounds like you may be going through a lot at home right now and are looking for some options.
        We are not legal experts, but generally speaking, 18 is the age you can leave home in most states, including CA. Leaving before age 18, your parents may be able to file a runaway report, letting the police know you are gone. Some police departments do not accept reports for those closer to 18, as long as they are known to be somewhere safe. But this varies A LOT from police department to police department.
        One option you have is to call your local non-emergency number and ask anonymously how they handle running away at age 17 or 17 1/2. You can find your local number at
        We also offer conference calling so if you would like some support in making this call, feel free to reach out to us at 1-800-786-2929. We are here 24/7 to help, though most police departments only have somewhere answering the non-emergency number during business hours.

        We are here to talk and listen, no matter what you decide. If you would like to discuss options for leaving, places to stay, etc, or ways to improve your situation at home, give us a call or live chat with us through the link at the top of this page.

        Thanks again for posting! It takes a lot of strength to reach out for support!

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