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  • Harboring a runaway?

    I live in NC. One of my sons friends (he is 17) is in a bad situation at home and from what I understand, has been kicked out of his house with only the clothes on his back. He asked if he could stay here for a few days, hoping his father will cool down enough to speak rationally about him going back home, even though he really doesn't want to go home. There are major issued between him and his father, from what I'm told. In the meantime, he's here, he's safe and fed and his clothes are clean. I want to do the right thing by helping him out. I don't want to see anyone have to sleep on the street. But he can't stay here indefinitely. A few days in one thing, and only a quick fix. He's told me this has happened before, and when other parents intervened with his father, his father got upset and abusive with him once he was returned home.

    Of course, I'm only hearing half the story, and for all I know the son ran away and is here hiding from his father. I've never met the father and when I asked the son to call him while I was present, he didn't answer his cell or house phone.

    I want to do the right thing, but I don't want to make things worse for the boy. I also do not want to break the law and/or bring any trouble into my own household. AM I breaking the law? I've thought of calling the police, or a hotline...but again, I don't want to make the situation between him and his father worse. I'm very confused and very concerned about this young man.

    Can anyone offer advice?

  • #2
    Re: Harboring a runaway?

    Hello,
    Thank you for contacting the National Runaway Switchboard. We empathize with your difficult situation and hope that we may help in some way. It sounds like you truly want to do right by this young man and you did the right thing by asking for suggestions as to how to best handle the situation. In terms of whether or not you are breaking the law, it is best that you contact either your local police station or other legal services to find out what the laws in your area are and whether you are within your rights to help this youth. Child Protective Services could be another option for you with helping to figure out what could be done if the youth is being abused at home. Obviously, being kicked out the house at such a young age is a neglectful situation and it is not fair to the youth. The father's action is not allowed in most states and is something that could be reported and investigated by Child Protective Services. The 24 hour hotline for North Carolina for child abuse reporting is 1800-662-7030. In terms of whether or not you are breaking the law; in some cases, if there was a police report filed for the youth and he is listed as a runaway then it is likely that the parent of the runnaway could bring charges against the people trying to help out the youth. While it is not fair for this young man to be on the street, you do want to protect your family. It is probably best to check whether the child's father filed a police report. You could also give the youth the hotline number for National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-RUNAWAY. If he wants to talk more about his situation we are here 24 hours/a day and we will do our best to assist the youth with where he wants to take the issue . We also have referrals for shelters in our database and would do our best to locate a safe place for him if he needs it. However, shelters are required to call the parent of the youth within 24 hours. Shelters are mandate reporters and must report issues of abuse and NRS is designated by law to do the same. If you are worried about reporting the issues, keep in mind that the NRS hotline is completely confidential so no one is going to know that you spoke to us. We are here to work with you and the youth and provide whatever resources the youth may need. Your efforts so far is to be commended as you have done a lot to make this youth welcomed in your home. We are here 24 hour a/day if you need to reach us. Good luck with everything and hope that you get the youth the help he needs.
    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!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Harboring a runaway?

      Thank you for your quick reply and advice. I gave him your number. He said he called today, but I'm not thoroughly convinced he did. I also made some calls locally to the CPS department and got some numbers for him to call so they can help. Hopefully this will all turn out well for him.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi my name is Susen and I have a friend who is underage and I am over age but she is on the run and I’m with her would I get in trouble if I sent in an anonymous tip of our whereabouts?
        Last edited by ccsmod4; 04-09-2019, 06:35 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Reply: Hi my name is Susen

          Hello,
          Thank you for writing to us here at the National Runaway Safeline.

          We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. While we are not experts on the law, anyone found to be assisting or aiding someone to run away may also find themselves at risk legally. For more specifics on the law, you might consider contacting the local non-emergency number for the police. You might also look for a legal aid center in the area. They may be able to answer any legal questions on the subject. NRS is here to listen and here to help.
          We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email or bulletin for assistance. If you would like to talk more in detail and share more about how we can help specifically, please call or chat soon.

          Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).

          Take care,
          NRS

          We hope this response was helpful! We’d love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to youth and families. Please click the link to fill out our survey: Your Opinion Matters to Us

          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!
          https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

          Comment


          • #6
            I (a minor) live in NC and I have a friend (also a minor) from another state whose mother is sexually abusive. Would it be illegal for her to stay with us or for us to get her housed in a shelter?

            Comment


            • ccsmod16
              ccsmod16 commented
              Editing a comment
              Hi,
              Thank you for reaching out to us; we are glad that you did. It sounds like you are a really good friend by being there for your friend and trying to find help for them.
              Them being sexually abused by their mother is absolutely not OK and you are right to be concerned. Two things you can do is to tell your parents and ask them to call your friend's Child Abuse Hotline for their state. Filing an abuse report is anonymous and no one will know that they did it. You or your friend can also file. Or, they can reach out to us and we will make the report for them.
              Another resource for them is https://www.rainn.org/ where your friend can talk about their mother's sexual abuse.
              As far as coming to your house, they can come if your parents notify your state's CPS that they are there and why.
              We hope this helps. Your friend is welcome to reach out to us either by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or via live chat through this website.
              We hope to hear from them soon.
              Sincerely,
              NRS
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