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  • Throwaway staying at friends house

    I know of a "throwaway" that has been living with a friend for 3 months, I 've read your other posts and want to know if they let him stay there could they get into trouble for doing so. I had no idea people could get into trouble for letting a teen stay at their house. The teen is 16 and lives in Florida. He said his mom left him at a local hang out and gave him his social secuirty card and left. He has lived with various friends since then. What can you suggest in a case like this? I don't want to see my friends get into trouble for just trying to help they said he was living on the street when they let him stay on a temporary basis. He has maintained contat with his mom but can't get a hold of her now. I don't know if she knows where he is or not. I know he has been "in the system" before, and I know he dosn't want to go back. What can you suggest?

  • #2
    Re: Throwaway staying at friends house

    Hello,

    Thank you for contacting us at the National Runaway Switchboard and we hope that we can be of service to you at this time. We imagine that it is probably very difficult for this young man to have been left without anyone to care for him and by the fact of having been left with his social security, could suggest that his mother had no intentions of coming back to get him. Although we are not in the position to define abuse or neglect, this is clearly a case for Child Protective Services to step in, in order to conduct an investigation. CPS can investigate the case and can provide a way for the youth to remain safe through a group home or foster home but this is something the youth is going to want to call them or us about.

    A throwaway is somewhat different from a runaway in that, a runaway leaves by choice on an overnight without permission but a throwaway is someone that is made uncomfortable to live at home or told to leave. We assume by the mother leaving meant, she did not care enough to see that he had a place to go or someone to turn to. We commend your friends for doing the total opposite to the mother. They were nice enough to take him in and provide a space for him to remain comfortable and welcomed. We are sure that with this family, he is able to realize that he still has chance to get his life together. One of the main issues to consider is whether or not he is going to have the opportunity to attend school. Everyone has a right to an education and having access to school is partly the responsibility of the child's guardian/parents. Do you know if he is going to school? This is something the family who he is staying need to think about because by enabling him to say at their house without proper instructions on an academic level, leaves much void in this young man's life.

    It is not fair for people to be good to you and end up having to pay for it in the end. Lets play "devil's advocate" so to speak; what is the chances of this young man actually not being a runaway and instead chose to present himself as a throwaway. We are not here to judge him because it is against our policy but a lot of people get trick with not knowing the full story or what really happened. With runaways, it is illegal to harbor one and can lead you to end up in legal trouble if you are not careful. The same case can be made for a throwaway, if you are not certain if he is one. It is easy for a person to pay on the soft side of individuals when he was living on the streets, bouncing from friend to friend without a plan, and temporary goes to permanent. We are not even disputing the need for the people he is staying with to have him stay longer since he is probably a nice kid and not getting into trouble. However, this can cast a shower on people to not act right away and can lead to a disaster. The last thing they need is parents filing charges on them when they thought it was not going to come to that. It is risky to have someone underage stay at your house without trying to find a way to notify that child's parents. It is not to say that you cannot take his word but for safety, we recommend that you have your friend's contact your local police to explore what their options are and what is the best way to deal with the situation. Is it likely that he did manage to contact the mother and is trying to avoid it now? For what it is worth, he probably has his reason for not wanting to return home and we are here to help him find resources, such as a shelter, if he were to call us at 1800RUNAWAY. We are here for him 24 hours a day to listen and offer options for him to stay safe.

    It is likely that the police may not act on much but it is usually best to play it safe or to prove to them that you were willing to cooperate from the start. It sounds like this young man has had a rough life and no one deserves that. However, precaution is best urge when dealing with such delicate situation. If he was able to get in touch with her before and not now, what are other means for getting him help. If your friends are worried and want to find the youth a shelter to avoid legal trouble, please consider our number as an option. He can at least stay at a shelter and if there are no one to contact for consent for him to stay, it is likely that shelter's representative are going to have to call the proper authority to get him care. We are here for you, your friend's family and the youth if anyone needs further assistance. Good luck.

    -NRS
    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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