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17 Thinking about running away or looking to emancipation

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  • 17 Thinking about running away or looking to emancipation

    Hi, im 17 and have about 6 months until I turn 18. I have been having a rough time with my parents recently, mostly my step mother. She is very controlling and gets angry easily. I have my phone and other privileges taken away all the time for the smallest things that I do wrong. I have talked to child services and counselors at school and both sides think that what my dad and stepmother are doing is wrong. The people at school have even planned to set up a time for me to take counseling because they think that there could be mental abuse going on in my house and think it could impact me and my brother very negatively. I am wondering if it is worth the effort to try to be emancipated by a court or if it will take too long to do that and i will be close to 18 before the court process will be over. I also dont know how much money it would cost to do that. So my next option is just to leave home. I have a job and a steady income from it and I have two places I could go stay at. Both have offered to give me a room and help me financially. One is a very close friend and the other is my girlfriends family. Both think that what is going on in my house is wrong and they want to help me. My question then is, could I just leave and go live with one of them without my parents consent. Would the police come looking for me or would they be able to be charged with harboring a runaway? I dont want to get them in trouble for trying to help me. What should I do legally to go through with the process of emancipation. My third option past this is I could start the emancipation process and leave my house. Im assuming it will take a few months so if the police wont go looking for me I could leave, get emancipated, and then stay with one of the two families.

  • #2
    Thanks for reaching out to NRS! We appreciate you taking the time to explain a bit about her situation.
    Sorry to hear you’re having a difficult time with your parents. It sounds like you’ve taken some great steps towards trying to get help, like talking to child services, friends/family and the school guidance department. Emancipation can be a lengthy process, often taking at least several months to be completed. If that is the route you’d like to go, we can try to find legal aid resources for you. Just call into our safeline so we can find ones in your area. You mentioned you have a job, and that is important because you’re often required to show that you could be financially independent before a court will emancipate you. As far as running away and staying with friends, whether they can get in trouble varies from state to state. In some states, the adults that let you stay with them can be charged with “harboring a runaway”, which is a crime. Whether the police would come looking for you also depends on their protocols. We can call out to your local police station with you, some police don’t take runaway reports on 17 year olds who are close to turning 19. Typically, this would only happen after your parents file a “runaway report” with the police. If you think it’s possible, you could ask your parents to give you permission to stay with at you friend’s house. As long as you have permission, your friend’s parents can’t get in trouble.
    If you have any other questions or want to discuss your situation in more detail, you can give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We’re open 24x7.

    Best of luck.
    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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