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16 year old runaway

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  • 16 year old runaway

    My step-daughter is 16 year's old and has run away from home. She was adopted through Children and Family Services when she was born and has been having a hard time with her adoptive parent (for the past 2 years that I know of; she says since she was 12, but she didn't contact me at that time). It has gotten to the point where I fear for her safety. I've contacted CPS, but nothing has been done. It appears that because she is a teenager they believe everything the adoptive parent says. The mom is very threatening and has attempted to hurt her before, but because there has actually been no physical abuse they can see, nothing has been done. It seems to me that she is also being mentally abused having to go through this all the time. I would take her in gladly if the adoptive parent would let me, but she's adamant that she can't stay with us (she has two brothers - both my sons, but her father is now deceased). Her exact words were "she will not have a better life than I have". I don't understand why someone would not want what was best for the child (especially since she's always saying she's tired of her). I know that if she was not getting monthly assistance and housing for this young lady, she would put her out on the street in a heartbeat.

    I don't know where my step-daughter is (and don't want to know since I would have to tell if the police ask), but my other niece has contacted me to tell me she's somewhere safe (but I'm still not sure of that). She wants to come to me, but I don't want to get into trouble for "harboring a runaway" if she's been reported as such. I want her to be safe and my niece says she's adamant about not going back home. I feel so bad for her and am really frustrated that I can't do anything to help her. She's a good student (but would be better if she didn't have to deal with all these issues) and has been involved with ROTC and the basketball team at school (until her adoptive parent said she would have to give all of that up). I know I can get a message to her, but I don't know what to tell her to do. I have told anyone who would listen that something bad is going to happen in that household and someone is going to get hurt or die, but nothing is being done. My step-daughter feels that she (the adoptive parent) is using drugs (I have known her to do so in the past and she looks like she does, but I'm can't say that with 100% assurance that she is doing them now).

    What can I tell her to do? How can she get the help she needs? If she's in fear for her safety, who can she tell (and they will DO SOMETHING)? There should be an advocate for my step-daughter, someone who will listen to what she has to say and investigate what's going on in that household. As I said before, CPS has done nothing (but talk to the adoptive parent, who spins any kind of yarn she thinks they will believe). I need someone to DO SOMETHING!!!!

  • #2
    16 year old runaway


    Thank you for reaching out to us. It sounds like you are very concerned for your step-daughter and the case worker is not helping. It can be very frustrating to feel like social services are not taking a case seriously enough. You mentioned that you have been in contact with her and want to see her stay in a safe place. Just to let you know, we are not legal experts, but we can explain what we know about the runaway laws. Techncially, I it is not against the law for her to run away from home. In most places it would be considered a status offence. However, anyone she would be caught staying with could possibly be charged with ‘harboring a runaway’. Are you willing to take this risk for her?

    As a minor, she also has certain rights. She has the right to feel safe in her own home. She also has the right to go to school regardless of her living situation. Sometimes, if law enforcement does not seem to be helping it can be useful to contact legal aid resources and see what she can legally do. We have a large database of resources available if you are able to call us.

    We can be reached at any time at 1-800-RUNAWAY(786-2929) or by live chat at from 4:30pm-11:30pm Central Standard Time. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you both 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)

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