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Questions on Running Away

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  • Questions on Running Away

    I'm 15 years old, and I'm thinking of running away from my current living situation. I've been doing some research online and happen to be confused about a certain number of things; however, I'd like to provide some details before I get the normal response.

    I will be transferring across the country, and have a place to stay. I understand the harboring a runaway law, but I feel rather confident that no one involved in clarifying me as a runaway, or looking for me, will know where I am or who I'm with. Before leaving, I plan to save up a years worth+ amount of a part-time job's paycheck. Also, where I'm staying would be stable.

    I'd like to continue high school where I'm going to stay. I don't know if that's possible. The Mckinney Vento Act seems to be provided for strictly homeless people. However, I have no problem looking into online school or getting my GED as the Honors student I am. Should I do this before or after leaving?

    No, talking to anyone in the school, family members, friends, Child Protective Services, or anyway to solve the issue I've been dealing with is NOT an option. Even if it seems childish, running away seems like my most mature and successful route for myself.

    I'm sure my parents seperately (divorced) will report me missing, but the possibility of cops from across the country looking for me, is it low?

    Also, is it possible to change my name, be hired after reported or have whom I'm staying with sign as my legal guardian without being caught? What's the process?

    I'm aware my questions probably can't be answered to my expectations. Please do not suggest ways of confronting my parents, school, social worker or living in a foster home. I've already lived in one temporarily through CNP (Care and Protection,) and I'm not impressed.

    Home is not a suitable enviorment for me, personally. Also, an alternative motive is living across the country with someone I love, so I don't plan on changing my mind.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you've been doing research while contemplating running away. It's good that you grasps some understanding around some of the potential options or consequences surrounding a young person's decision to leave home.

    It's hard to say what the likelihood the police will search for you across the country. Since you are 15 years old and mentioned your parents will likely file a runaway report and look for you, it depends on the amount of resources the police and your parents are able to expend.

    We're not legal experts here so its hard to say whether you could change your name, but typically, legal adults can change their name or a legal guardian of a minor can change their minor's name. This might be a question you can follow up with a legal aid organization who can tell you the ins and outs of the law. Unfortunately, we do not provide strategies on how to not be caught as a runaway but we try to provide as big of a picture as possible. Something to consider in your question about the person you plan to stay with and their possibility of signing as a legal guardian is that they could be possibly charged with fraud since they would be posing as your legal guardian without your parents' permission. That would raise the charges to harboring a runaway and fraud, and possibly others.

    We wish you good luck in your decision making process and hope to hear from you soon if you would like some concrete resources for reference.

    Take care,
    National Runaway Safeline
    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!


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