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16 y/o contemplating running away

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  • 16 y/o contemplating running away

    I'm a 16 year old who can't stand where they live. Not only do I hate living in my house, but I hate my school and the state I live in, in general (NC) . I really want to get as far away as possible so I was thinking about just running away to Cali. I don't think my mom would allow this but I could care less at this point. I'm just wondering about the legal aspect of this situation and what shelters are out there. I'm also concerned about school because I need to finish school but I'm not sure how I will get enrolled.

    P.S. I live with my mom but not my dad. I'm sure if I beg my dad he would help me in any way that he could. I just don't know if he has the power to help me as my mom is my custodial parent.

  • #2
    RE: 16 y/o contemplating running away


    Thank you for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you are going through a rough patch right now. You said that you hate your living situation and that you were thinking about running away to California. That must be a pretty big decision. You asked about legal issues, shelters, and schools. It sounds like you want to make a well informed decision and you are responsible enough to do research. We are glad that you came to us.

    Legally, running away is usually what is called a ‘status offence.’ This means that you won’t face criminal charges just for running away, but that if you are reported to the police, they can take you into custody and make you go back home. Crossing state lines can complicate legal issues further, so it comes with added risk because you are dealing with separate law codes for each state. While running away isn’t a crime, anyone who helps you or houses you could potentially be charged with harboring a runaway or contributing to the deliquincy of a minor, especially if they hide your whereabouts or obstruct the police in their search. If your father, for instance, helps you run away, he might risk running into legal trouble.

    As for shelter and school, there are many homeless youth shelters in California. Most will require you to have an ID, and many shelters will be required to contact your mom. It can be difficult, though not always impossible, to enroll in school as a runaway. Many people find it difficult to finish school while homeless and staying in a shelter.

    Before running away, there are many things that you may want to think about, such as transportation, what you will do if you get stranded, how you will support yourself, how you will get food and clothing, and where you will stay. If you would like to talk to someone about your home situation or your plans for running away, you can always call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. All of our services are confidential and anonymous, and our hotline is open 24/7. You can also reach us through our chat service at between 4:30pm and 11:30pm central time. We are here to listen and support you in any way that we can, and we can help you figure out what your next move will be and provide you with any avaliable resources. It sounds like you are going through a really hard time at home. We are looking forward to talking with you soon!

    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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