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Can I move out at 17 while in DYS, if MO laws state I can?

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  • Can I move out at 17 while in DYS, if MO laws state I can?

    I'm 16, and turn 17 in less than 6 days. I live in Missouri, so by law you can technically move out at 17. My parents are abusive and have treated me horribly. For the past four years I have planned and arranged with my grandparents to move in with them when I turn 17, but I never told my parents. But recently, in September, my parents began to threaten me so I ran away. I went to my grandparents and they took me to talk to the police. I reported the abuse, because I didn't think I would be able to make it to my birthday. Currently I am in State's Custody and living in a Kinship/Foster Home with one of my teacher's, his wife, and their two teenagers. I feel horribly uncomfortable and I hate it. I've been trying to get permanency placement with my grandparents, but my parents keep fighting against it, even though my grandparents practically raised me, due to the fact that my parents never really cared and always left me with my grandparents for long periods of time. I refuse to go home, because I do not want to go home, but I do not also want to be in a foster home. I want to be placed with my grandparents, but it's been 4 months and I have yet to be placed with them and have only seen them once. They are not going to try to reunification with my parents, because I refuse to go home, and they are not doing what they're supposed to be doing to get me back. My previous caseworker was replaced and I have yet to hear from her in the past month. My foster dad has tried to contact her and the head of Social Services, but still no word. I have a job, but am currently not allowed to work. I'm also not allowed to have or drive my car which is under my grandparents name. I also am not allowed to have my cellphone, in which is prepaid that I bought and pay for monthly. Currently I have good grades in school also. So my question is: Would I be able to move out and leave my foster home after I turn 17 and move in with my grandparents without getting in trouble by DYS?

  • #2
    Re: Can I move out at 17 while in DYS, if MO laws state I can?

    Thank you so much for reaching out to us about what's going on. It sounds like a pretty tough situation you're going through with your grandparents and you did have the right to report your parents for abusing you. We're not legal experts so we can't say specifically what the laws are around minors wanting another guardian. Speaking in general terms however, in some cases if there is abuse going on in the household you can seek safer housing which you indicated would be your grandparents. 17 is a tricky age and we can't really give detailed legal advice about this. What that means is sometimes at 17 the police may or may not take a report or make a youth return home. Usually the best way to get that information is to contact your local police directly and just ask a few questions about if they take a report at 17. We can give you some legal aid resources to get more in-depth answers to questions you may have around that. It sounds like you have pretty good idea with what you have to do and it's really great that you're taking the steps to being safe and figuring out the process. You have a lot of great things going on with your good grades and your relationship with your grandparents and some things are kind of on a stand still from what you told us. If you would like to discuss your situation more in depth you can always reach out to us directly.
    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
      in Michigan, can a 17 year old move out of their home, while in foster care?


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for contacting us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand that it takes courage to seek help. We are not legal experts so we cannot say for sure whether you could move out. In the state of Michigan, a person has to be at least 18 before they can move out. If you decide to leave foster care at 17, your caseworker has the right to file a runaway report. With a runaway report, if the police find you they may return you back to the foster home. However, some police do not accept runaway reports for 17 year old's. You could try contacting your local police through their non emergency phone to ask about their runaway policy. If you have any questions or just want to talk, please feel free to contact us directly via our 24 hour crisis hotline (1-800-786-2929), email, or live chat.

        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: We care what you think

    • #4
      im 17 now its march 7th, 2021 now. im almost 18 in july I live in missouri and I'm in the foster care system..can I move out now if I take it up with my caseworker? like my boyfriend, friend, or even go back to my moms since I'm literally almost 18?


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there, and thanks for contacting us here at NRS. We know that it can take a lot of courage to reach out for support, and we're glad you took that step.

        In Missouri, the age of majority is 18. That means that you are not legally considered an adult until then, even if you're in the foster care system. While there are generally some ways to work around that (primarily through parental consent or emancipation), it wouldn't make sense for you to pursue emancipation at this time given how soon you'll be 18. And parental consent doesn't apply because you're in foster care. Talking with your caseworker is definitely a good starting point, though because of the state laws in place regarding adulthood, it's a good idea to go into that conversation expecting the best and preparing for the worst. If nothing else, you can initiate the conversation of what's next for you when you turn 18, which will be helpful for you in transitioning out of care.

        If you'd like to chat in more detail about what's going on or continue to explore your options with us, please feel free to reach out directly by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY or by chatting with us live at We're available 24/7 and are always happy to listen, and to help.

        Take care.

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