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Harboring a 17 year old runaway in CA

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  • Harboring a 17 year old runaway in CA

    Here's a bit of background information. My mother in law has 9 kids (6 boys and 3 girls), and though my husband and I are separated right now, and possibly getting a divorce, I have always been close to my sister in laws. My mother in law has had a serious drug abuse problem for as long as I can remember, and because of this, their living conditions have always been horrible.. There was a point in time where she was living in a car with all 9 of her kids..

    Recently, one of my sister-in-laws reached out to me. She's 17 years old, and turns 18 in November. She and 5 of her siblings and her mother were renting ONE room in someone else's home. My sister in law claims that someone who's living there (who also happens to be a registered sex offender) was molesting her, and when she told her mom about it, she did not believe her. So she decided to run away. Half the time her mom is too strung out to look after her kids which is why it doesn't surprise me that she wouldn't believe her own daughter about being molested..

    I have a couple of questions about legal issues. If her mom finds out where she's staying, can the people harboring her be charged with something? It is my understanding that in the state of CA, after a minor turns 17 and a half, there is not much that can be done when they run away. Is this true?

    My sis in law told me she wants to see a counselor or a psychologist, but she's not sure if she's insured, she things she's covered through Medi-Cal but she's not sure.. And she doesn't know her SSN and doesn't have an ID or her birth certificate either, her mom has everything and she doesn't want to return home, chances are she wouldn't give her any of her stuff anyway. What can be done about this?

    I'm also wondering if I should call CPS, regarding their living situation (7 people in 1 room), the molestation, and their mom's drug abuse problem, I am also concerned because 2 of what are the odds that CPS would actually do something about this?

  • #2
    re: Harboring a 17 year old runaway in CA

    Hello and thank you for contacting the National Runaway Safeline. We are sorry to hear your sister-in-law is currently going through this as well as the other children. No one should have to experience this on any level. Since we do not handle legal issues or have detailed information I can answer your questions generally and as thorough as possible. In regards to her not being seen as a minor after a certain age in the state of CA may very well be true. Each state has their own laws regarding the age of adulthood. In addition, since running away is not a crime or felony, much would not be done other than the possibility of her being made to return home if her guardian knows where she is and request that she come home, which is not a guarantee the police will do that, especially if the law is stating otherwise. You can always call into the local police station and ask the general question without having to provide any identifying information.

    In regards to the birthcertificate and SSN, she can contact social security administration and for the state ID, the local DMV would be of help, however, you could try visiting the SSN administration website for more detailed information or contacting your city hall for help. It is at your discretion whether or not you want to call CPS, it really does depend on them what will happen, and their next steps. Each case is treated differently. I hope this helps and best of luck to you and your family. Thank you again for contacting the 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)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

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    • #3
      I’m 17 and I want to run away I’ll be 18 In December but I can’t stand my mom anymore she verbally abuses me by calling me “********ing pathetic” & a “whore” I know where I would go & stay at, where I will be provided with shelter & food, etc. I need help with answers about consequences, what will happen if I run away? And will the person I’m staying with get introuble because he’s 19? Will the cops bring me back home? I really don’t want to see my mom. She makes me so mad all we ever do is argue. She’s going through so much with he love live she takes it all out on me. It’s hurts your heart when your own mom calls you ********ing pathetic and a whore. It really does. PLEASE HELP ME!!

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for reaching out to us here at National Runaway Safeline. We are very sorry to hear about the way your mom has been treating you. Abuse is never okay and you don't deserve to be called names. Although verbal abuse is harder to prove, you have the right to report it. Child Help (1-800-422-4453) is a great resource to learn more about child abuse reporting and information on how to transfer custody. You could try asking your mom if she would allow you to stay with another family member or close friend. We are not legal experts but from what we know, if you runaway from home your mom has the right to file a runaway report. With a runaway report, if the police find you they would return you back to your mom. Running away is not illegal but if you decide to stay with your friend, he could get charged with harboring a runaway because he is over 18. Some police do not accept runaway reports on 17 year old's. You could contact your local police department through their non emergency number to ask about their runaway policy. If you don't feel comfortable calling the police, we could contact them for you. Don't hesitate to contact us directly via our 24 hour crisis hotline (1-800-786-2929), email, or live chat if you have any additional questions or would like us to contact the police on your behalf.

    • #4
      Please help. I feel that my child a 17 year opd has run away. He has done many misdeeds as of late and has started to hang out with the wrong crowd. I want to report this to the police but may concern is is that I also have other younger (his siblings) children to care and protect. Will CPS be involve if I report him as a runaway and will this affect my other children?

      Comment


      • ccsmod9
        ccsmod9 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. We are here to listen and help as best as we can. It sounds like you are going through a really tough time not having your youth home and being unsure of their safety.
        One of the first options that can be important to explore is contacting your local law enforcement to file a runaway report. We are not legal experts here, but typically it is not illegal to runaway or leave home without permission. However, if a runaway report is filed, police that encounter a runaway youth will work to return them home when found. Keep in mind though, that the efforts made to search for runaway youth can vary from state to state or even within districts. Often it is up to the parents to advocate for themselves and keep track of the steps taken to find their youth. Although we are not legal experts as long as you do manage to report to the proper authorities CPS would not be investigating any other situation unless the youth is found and reports any type of abuse.

        If you have a way to communicate with your child either email, text, phone, or social media you can inform them that we are offer confidential 24/7 support. We can try to locate some resources that could be of assistance, wherever they are located, to help keep them safe. If you do not have contact with your child, we also offer a message service where parents can call us to leave a message for their child. If the youth calls in, we can deliver this message. We also take messages from youth to their parents that we deliver as well. This can be a great option for you to express yourself in a safe, productive, and non-confrontational way. If you choose to utilize our message service, we encourage you to spread the word to anyone you think may be in contact with your child to increase the chances of your message being retrieved.

        Unfortunately we do not have a service that assists with locating youth, but there are agencies that offer to help in this way. One option is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which can be reached at 1-800-843-5678 or this link http://www.missingkids.com/home. You can also try Child Find at 1800-426-5678 or at this link http://childfindofamerica.org/. During a time like this, it can be important to remember your own self-care. Taking care of yourself and feeling heard can make an overwhelming situation more manageable. You can always call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY to talk or find additional resources.

    • #5
      I am 17 & mom is letting me move away this summer to live with my grandma but my dad is saying if i move then he will call the cops to bring me home. My mom and dad are legally married but have been separated for over 10 years now and I live with my mom. Will I get brought home if he calls the cops?

      Comment


      • ccsmod11
        ccsmod11 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi, and thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). In most states, the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission is 18. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway. What sounds tricky here is that you would have your mom's permission to stay with your grandma but not your dad. It would be our hope that *if* a runaway report was filed that your mom informing the police that she gave you permission would be sufficient, however, there is unfortunately no guarantee on how people will respond. All of that said, we are not legal experts. We'd be happy to provide you with legal resources if you'd like, and, you are welcome to call the non-emergency police to find out what their answer to the question is.

        If you would be interested in legal resources or if you'd like to talk in more detail about your situation please do not hesitate to reach out by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or chatting with us via www.1800RUNAWAY.org as we can best help by phone or chat (NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email or bulletin for assistance).

    • #6
      Hello,

      I am reaching out to get advice for a friend...
      My friend has taken care of a child for a acquaintance of their family in the past, at the acquaintance requests. That acquaintance of my friends family, has been and is in a bad living situation out of California. The acquaintance of the family has been and is abusing that child who is now 17. That now 17 yr old has always known, if things got to abusive at there spot they were always welcome back. That child left that state and showed up in California and refuses to go back. Is my friend in jeopardy of any kind, with the law out of state or in Ca, if they help that acquaintances 17 year old and take them in?

      Comment


      • ccsmod9
        ccsmod9 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. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. Your friend should probably call the cops and explain what is happening so that way the police are aware that the youth feels and is in danger at home and that is why he is there. 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).
        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
        We hope to hear from you soon.
        Be safe, NRS

    • #7
      Hey I am 17 years old, tuning 18 July, me and my mother haven't been getting along at ALL recently and it's not getting better anytime soon trust me. I'm planning on running away and living with a friend. Do I need her (my mother) permission to live with someone else? If I go to live with someone else can they get arrested or in big trouble for letting me stay there? I would have to transfer schools too so could I get my friends guardian to switch my schools? Lastly will the police force me to go back to my mom if I run away?

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello There,
        Thank you for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. We are sorry you are going through such a difficult time, we just want you to know you are not alone.
        We are not legal experts but we do have general information on the laws that may help. Because you are a minor you would need your mother’s permission to leave. If you do decide to leave home without permission your legal guardian does have the right to file a runaway report. If the police do find you they most likely would bring you back home.
        Whoever you stay with could potentially get in trouble for harboring a runaway. That would usually be a fine that they would have to pay or could be a misdemeanor. Usually to switch schools you would need your legal guardian to sign forms. You could always call your school and ask how you can go about switching schools.
        We hope this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any more questions or would like to explore options please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and provide support. Best of luck!
        NRS

    • #8
      Hello, my son ran away from home in April of this year he's only 15 years old. I was told of he's by his friend that he is living with a 13 year old girl. I've reached out to the mother of this girl. And she's encouraging their relationship. My son is not going to school smoking pot, drinking in the home. I've called police on countless times and she will deny even knowing him. I don't know what to do please help I feel I'm losing my mind.
      Last edited by ccsmod4; 10-24-2019, 08:14 AM.

      Comment


      • ccsmod4
        ccsmod4 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline.

        We are here to listen and help as best as we can. It sounds like you are going through a really tough time not having your son home and being unsure of his safety. He is lucky to have someone that cares so much about him.

        One of the first options that can be important to explore is contacting your local law enforcement to file a runaway report (which it sounds like you have). We are not legal experts here, but typically it is not illegal to run away or leave home without permission. Keep in mind though, that the efforts made to search for runaway youth can vary from state to state or even within districts. Often it is up to the parents to advocate for themselves and keep track of the steps taken to find your child.
        This may mean seeking a court order through juvenile court to have your child returned.
        It sounds like he is also truant so you might seek to speak with a truant officer.
        It also sounds like the adult parent he is staying with may be considered as contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

        We can best help by phone or chat so we might best help you to connect with services in your area.
        If you would like to speak more about your situation, please call or chat at 1-800-Runaway (786-2929) or www.1800runaway.org

        Take care,
        NRS

    • #9
      Hello, is there a crime for an adult to shelter a minor without cause? Not questioning them as to why they are a runaway or even making an effort to contact the parents, or even authorities?

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello, thanks for reaching out to NRS. We are not legal experts by any means, but we can share some general information with you. If a minor leaves home without permission, their guardian does have the right to file a runaway report. Running away is not illegal, but it known as a status offense. This means that if the parents or the police know where the youth is, they might be returned home. Whoever the young person is staying with is at risk of being charged with harboring a runaway, however; this charge is usually a misdemeanor and it does not happen frequently. Runaway and harboring laws can vary state by state, so calling the local police department's non-emergency number is the best way to get more specific information about your areas particular protocol.

        You can reach us by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or chat with us at www.1800runaway.org if you have any other questions or concerns.

        Take care,
        NRS

    • #10
      Hi I’m a thirteen year old girl I’m gettin verbally abused at home by my dad who is calling my a ***king fat*** and a dirty ***** and ***** I know where I can go with food shelter and safety and I want to know the consequences for running away and the person harboring me.
      Last edited by ccsmod13; 12-13-2019, 10:31 PM. Reason: Inappropriate language

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there and thank you for taking the time to share a bit about your situation. Abuse of any kind is not okay and never your fault. Parents are supposed to make home feel safe and you deserve to live somewhere you feel supported. It makes sense you are thinking about leaving.

        Because you are still considered a minor, your dad can report you as a runaway if you leave home without permission. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense which means your dad can report you as a runaway to the police. You would not be arrested, but the police would likely return you home. Whoever you are staying with can be charged with harboring a runaway which is usually a misdemeanor.

        You mentioned that your main reason for wanting to leave is that your dad is verbally abusive. There is an organization called Child Help which is dedicated to helping young people like you who experience abuse. You deserve to get the support that you need and the national child abuse hotline can help you brainstorm coping strategies as well as steps to get a trusted adult involved to intervene. You can contact Child Help at 1-800-422-4453 or chat/text by going to childhelphotline.org.

        We truly want to be a support for you while you navigate this challenging time and decide on your next steps. If you would like to talk more about your situation, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at www.1800runaway.org.

        Be safe,
        NRS

    • #11
      I have a question I am in california and I have a 17 year old niece that ran away from her home . I was able to contact her and find out that she is safe and a little about why she ran away . she stated she did not want to go home because her father was touching her inappropriately. And she didn't feel safe there . her mom was told this info and says she don't believe her and she needs to go home . my question is can the person she is staying with get into trouble ? My niece will be 18 in less than a month. What advice if any can you give me to pass along to my niece ?

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello,

        Thanks for contacting NRS and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. From what you shared, it sounds like your niece was not safe at home and made the decision to remove herself from that situation.

        Your niece does have the right to report what happened to the police. She can call the non-emergency number for the local police department if she would like to ask anonymous questions about what the report might entail.

        Generally speaking, her parents do have the ability to choose where she lives until she turns 18. Her parents can report her as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but if her parents know where she is then they might be able to have police return her home. However, it is much less likely police would intervene since she is so close to 18. Some states have harboring charges which is usually a misdemeanor. This is when an adult houses a minor without the knowledge of a parent or against their wishes. We are not legal experts, but from what we know it is not very common and not used to punish someone who is helping a young person stay safe.

        We encourage your niece to take any steps she feels are necessary to keep herself safe. She can call our hotline anytime at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at www.1800runaway.org if she needs any help with her next steps or would like to talk more about her situation. Additionally, the national sexual assault hotline, RAINN, is also available 24/7 to be a support for your niece. She can speak with someone trained to provide confidential crisis support.

        Do not hesitate to reach out again by phone or chat if you or your niece have further questions.

        We wish you both the best,
        NRS
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