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In Michigan, is it illegal for a 16 year old to run away?

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  • #16
    my girlfriend is having issues with her mom as we are not allowed to see eachother. i have talked to my therapist before and she said that they will not go after a 17 year old in michigan if they run away. she is 16 as of now and won’t be 17 until 7 months. will the police go after 16 year olds?


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline. It must be difficult to not be able to see your girlfriend. We’re not legal experts, but it usually isn’t illegal to run away. It’s considered a status offense, which just means that the youth left without permission of their guardian. Something to also keep in mind is that some states have what is called harboring laws. If a runaway report is filed, these laws allow for people that knowingly let runaways stay with them could be charged. Generally, whether or not the police will go after a runaway is up to the local police department. Some actively look for runaways and others may not do anything unless they happen to have an interaction with the runaway.

      If you have any other questions or need support, please feel free to reach back out. We can be reached at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or via chat at We’re here 24/7. Best of luck!

  • #17
    Hi, I’m 16 and I live in Michigan with my mother and step father in a mentally abusive household, I’ve wanted to run away for a while now and actually did once but was later brought back by police, my fathers house is considerably worse for mental health and breakdowns are constant in both places, I just need some advice on what I should do, I’m drained completely and my life is just stress, so what should I do?


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi thank you for reaching out. This sounds very overwhelming and you do not deserve to ever be mentally abused. It sounds like both mom and dad’s houses are not supportive for your mental health. Running away is a status offense meaning it is illegal because you are under 18. It sounds like you have experience with leaving in the past and sadly that is what could happen again. However, if you were to have your parents permission, then you could legally leave. It is also important to think about where you would go and how you would take care of yourself. If you would like to talk more about this or some other possible ways to help, please either call our hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or chat us online at We hope to hear from you soon.
      Be safe,
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