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What are the consequences of helping a 17 year old move out in PA

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  • What are the consequences of helping a 17 year old move out in PA

    This advice is concerning a friend of mine who has been residing in an unhappy household for quite some time. He is a resident of Pennsylvania who is 17 and will be turning 18 in mid-February of 2015. I am currently living in Wisconsin and am 20. We have been close friends for a while and I have personally meet his parents and I would agree with him that they partake in a significant amount of emotional and psychological abuse towards him. There is also some marijuana use involved with his mother. He had been held back in public school until his parents had him drop out and enroll in online school. He is still very behind (hasn't finished 9th grade) and with low grades that might cause him to be kicked out of the online school program he is a part of. I am living on my own in an apartment with a full time job and a college degree, and want more than anything to provide a safe place for him to grow. I have already researched GED requirements and his ability to work in Wisconsin, and I know without a doubt that he would be much safer and happier here.

    If I were to pick him up and bring him here to live with me, what are the possible outcomes? I know as a minor his parents can file a missing persons report to have him sent back, but with the verbal abuse and drug use, as well as my ability to provide him with a safe living condition and a way to get an education, I think I have a pretty solid case to why he should stay with me. I just don't want to get him caught up in a messy legal battle, or have him wind up in the hands of Child Services.

  • #2
    re: What are the consequences of helping a 17 year old move out in PA


    Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Safeline. We are sorry to hear about what your friend is going through at home. It sounds like you are a good friend and is concerned about your friend's well-being. It seems that you have a supportive and safe environment to offer your friend. It sounds like you are concerned about the overall legal consequences of him leaving home without permission.

    The age of majority, in most states is 18, is the age recognized by that state as an adult. In some states minors can legally move out before reaching the age of majority. To determine if a minor can legally move out at 17, you can try contacting your local police nonemergency hotline. If youth are unable to legally move out until the age of 18 in your county and/or state, his or her parents still have the right to file that individual as a runaway.

    It is hard to determine how exactly the police will handle the case because it varies a lot by state, county, and even city. Generally speaking once a runaway report if filed, it is then entered into a national law enforcement database.
    The police do not actively search for runaways. However if a runaway is picked up by the police on the streets, transportation arrangements for the youth to return home is usually made (i.e. police drop youth off at home or legal guardian pick youth up from station). If a runaway report is filed, charges can be filed against someone suspected of abiding or harboring a runaway. How likely will the charges hold up in court is another question and unfortunately we do not know.

    We hope the information provided helps. Remember we are available 24/7 and can be reached by dialing 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). Our hotline is confidential, anonymous, and toll-free. In addition to our hotline, you can receive live assistance via CHAT between 4:30pm and 11:30pm.

    Best Wishes
    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
      What are the consequences for taking in a 17 yr old runaway in the state of Pennsylvania


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment

        Thanks for taking the time to write us here at NRS. Generally speaking, parents are a minor's legal guardians until they turn 18, so they can decide where this person lives. If the young person decides to leave home without permission, the parents can report them as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means that if parents know where the young person is staying they might be able to get the police to assist with returning them home. There is a possibility that whoever the young person stays with is at risk of being charged with harboring a runaway although from what know this is not common. Some counties in Pennsylvania do not even take runaway reports for someone who is 17. If this is the case then there would not be a risk of harboring charges and police would not intervene to force the young person home. You can call the local police department's non-emergency number where the parents live to ask about their runaway and harboring charges.

        We hope this information helps! You and the young person can reach back out anytime at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat at We are available 24/7 to listen and help as much as possible.

        Good luck,

    • #4
      I’m 17...2 months away from turning 18 in Pa can I move out and in with my 18 year old boyfriend due to sexual harassment?


      • ccsmod1
        ccsmod1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there,

        Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little bit about what’s been going on, we know that it takes a lot of courage. You mentioned sexual harassment and it causes some concern that you may not be safe at home. If you are currently at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. If any harm or physical or sexual abuse is happening at home, you have the right to report it. If you feel like this is an option you want to explore, you may find this website helpful: We can also help you to file a report if that’s the route you are considering.

        We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your legal guardians can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. Running away is a status offense; this means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned home. Since you are so close to turning 18 the police could potentially let you stay where you are but that varies from town to town. You may want to call your local nonemergency police line (usually you can just dial 311) to verify your town's policy.

        If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

        Stay safe,

        We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to support youth and families. Please click the link below to fill out our survey:

    • #5
      hello im a 17 year old and want to get emancipated in pa should i run alway and then do that process i don't know im lost and want to escape


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi thank you for reaching out. It sounds like you are considering getting emancipated and/or running away. We do know that emancipation can take some time unfortunately, but we cannot answer if you should or should not run away. We can help by looking for some legal aid resources that would be able to guide you through the emancipation process. We are here to support as best as we can, so if you would like to talk more about what’s going on or some possible options, please either call our hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or chat us online at We hope to hear from you soon.
        Be safe,

    • #6
      If my son brought his runaway gf who is 17 and from Pa to GA to live with me can I be held responsible and be charged.


      • ccsmod14
        ccsmod14 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,
        Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. It seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.

        While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If the youth is under 18 and leave home, their parent/guardian may file them as a runaway and they may be returned home. Also, those that may help a run away youth with by having them in their home without parental consent may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.

        We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); (click on the chat button).
        If anyone is at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage them to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
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