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  • running away

    Im 16 and me and my boyfriend want to run away together and start our family together we both live in California and were both 16. We wanted to go to Las Vegas with one of my aunts over there, is it illegal to go to a different state, if we try enrolling into a school or getting a job and use our information would we get caught and back home? Would the police be looking for us in Las Vegas?

  • #2
    Re: running away


    It sounds like both you and your boyfriend are seriously considering running away out of state. We are not legal experts, but we can talk about what generally tends to happen. It seems like you are both on board with going to Las Vegas and plan to stay with one of your aunts. Running away itself is most often considered a status offense. However, harboring a runaway, crossing state lines with a minor, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor are the crimes that are typically associated with adults helping runaways. Please keep in mind we don’t judge here, but you may need to talk to your aunt about which risks she is okay taking should she decide to let you and your boyfriend stay with her.

    Good for you for thinking about school and work even if you decide to run away. You do have a right to go to school regardless if you are at home or are classified as a runaway/homeless youth (sometimes also called an unaccompanied minor.) Under the McKinney-Vento Act, most schools follow an “enroll now and ask questions later approach” should you be classified as such. Also, you mentioned you and your boyfriend want to start your family together and we aren’t sure if you mean in general or if you are saying you are or might be pregnant. If that is the case, you might find the resources Planned Parenthood and Sex Etc. helpful.

    As far as whether you would get caught/ would the police look for you in Las Vegas, if your parent(s)/guardian(s) file you as a runaway, that report generally goes into a National database. So, it doesn’t necessarily matter where you are if the police decide to run your name and discover you are a runaway. How much they pursue runaway cases though can vary depending on the police department. Hopefully this gives you a start; please reach out to us directly to continue discussing your situation. Live Chat is open right now (red button at and will remain so until 11:30pm CST this evening. Or, you can always try giving us a call 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929.)

    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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