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My Runaway Rights in North Carolina

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  • My niece is about to be 16 dss took her from her mom over a year ago. She doesn't like living with her dad and at 16 wants to runaway back to her mom's my house (aunt) or her grandma's. DSS wouldn't approve any of us to be her guardian when she was first taken from my sister. Can she legally run away to your mom's house or mine or my mom's house when turns 16?


    • ccsmod16
      ccsmod16 commented
      Editing a comment
      [6:52 PM] Claudia Varner
      Thank you for contacting NRS to inquire about your niece, we are so glad you did! We are sorry to hear that your niece is unhappy living with her dad and would prefer to live with another relative. That can be an extremely difficult thing for her, and all involved family members, to cope with and she is fortunate to have someone in her life like you, who is looking out for her and exploring options.
      While we are not legal experts, we are happy to provide some factual information. Firstly, the age of majority in North Carolina is 18 years old, so even though your niece is about to be 16 she is still considered a minor. Secondly, there are laws against harboring a minor who has run away. If her dad were to contact law enforcement and report that she ran away, whoever is housing her could be charged. We understand that this is a very hard situation to navigate, but we hope we’ve provided some clarity in your questions. She may wish to reach out to her caseworker to see if anything else is possible.

      If you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out by calling our hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY or writing into our online chat. We are here to help 24/7. Good luck!


  • hello
    I'm 16 years old. I live in North Carolina. I'm so tired of my family and how they make me feel. I and my mom always argue about everything. my family puts a lot of pressure on me and I can't handle it anymore. it is so tiring I want to leave home I don't want to stay in that place anymore. I have tried to end it all several times. cutting, pills, starvation, and even just getting in front of a car. they expect so much for me I cant with this any more I want to leave and never come back


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like it’s been very stressful and painful to be with your family, and they don’t understand how exhausted you are from their pressure. If you begin to think about harming yourself or ending it all again, To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are also good resources to contact during those tough times. To Write Love On Her Arms provides hope and support for people struggling with self-harm. They can help connect you to local resources at If you’re thinking of ending it all, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can provide also provide support and can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 or via instant chat at

      If you’re thinking about leaving home, running away is a big decision. We can help you explore any additional options and think through your decision so you stay safe. Please feel free to reach us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or via instant chat at We’re here 24/7 and are confidential. We hope to hear from you soon.

      Stay safe,
      NRS Crisis Team
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