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

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

    I have a friend who is 16 as of right now, 7 months until they’re 17. We live in Michigan. They live in a verbally abusive household and can’t handle the situation anymore. They are currently desperate and just want to get out. And they want to know what the police can do, considering they are 16.
    What can the police do for a 16 year old run away in Michigan?
    Is it illegal for a 16 year old to run away in Michigan?
    What can my friend do to get out of their situation?

  • #2
    We are glad you are reaching out to us because we are here to help! You asked really good questions, and we commend you for asking them on behalf of your friend! It sounds like your friend is going through a tough time, so it’s good that they have you.
    While we aren’t legal experts, we do know that running away isn’t illegal, but can be considered a status offense. That means that even though running away isn’t illegal, your friend’s parents could file a runaway report because they are under 18 (the legal age of adulthood in Michigan). If they were to file that report and knew where your friend was staying, police could be involved in brining your friend back home and charges could be pressed against anyone that takes your friend in.
    You mentioned that your friend is almost 17. In some cases, we have head of police stations not filing a runaway report for someone who is 17 and so close to adulthood. An option to figure out if the local police station would file a runaway report is to anonymously call your local police department’s non-emergency number and asking the maximum age they would file a report for. This might help your friend decide when they should make their next move.
    You also mentioned that your friend lives in a verbally abusive household. Verbal abuse is considered abuse and our friend has the option of reporting that to Child Protective Services. What happens after a report is filed can be different on a case by case basis depending on the investigator. As we mentioned, we aren’t legal experts, but we have heard of cases where the investigators comes to the home ti investigate and claims the abuse as disciplinary. We have also heard of cases where investigations happen and the youth is relocated to foster care. As we said, what happens after a report is filed can be different every time, and can even be dependent on the investigator that visits. Sometimes, verbal abuse reporting is taken very seriously, other times, without physical proof (like bruises or scrapes), it can be a long process. If you or your friend wanted to talk about your friend’s situation some more with one of our liners at 1-800-RUNAWAY, we could offer more information on what can happen during and after reporting. Another great resource is Child Help, the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 and childhelp.org. That is an organization created to help and educate victims of child abuse about their options. They could tell your friend what to expect and possible outcomes.
    As we said, we are here to help. If you or your friend wanted to call in and discuss their situation, we are available 24/7. We could help your friend think of other options or answer any questions they might have!

    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!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      What if a 15 year old leaves her father's home and goes to live with her mother in another state

      Comment


      • ccsmod6
        ccsmod6 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey and thank you for reaching out to the NRS. It is not illegal for anyone to run away, but it is considered a status offense. This means that whoever has custody over you can file a runaway report. If a runaway report is filed then if the police find you they would just take you back to your legal guardian. However, your legal guardian can file charges against whomever you were staying with for harboring a runaway. If you would like to know more about what running away might look like or how to approach it, please reach out to us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY or on chat at 1800runaway.org. Take care.

    • #4
      I have a friend who is 16 and her mother was charged with child neglect. She was living with grandma but grandma got mad and told the mom to come get her. She is not supposed to have contact with mom but they are living together. Now her mom has thrown her out. Can she legally leave home without being in trouble? If my family takes her in will my parents get in trouble.

      Comment


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello,

        Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you and your friend have been going through such a tough time, but we are here to support you and help you both in any way we can. Your friend does not deserve to be going through that and deserves to have a safe place to live.

        We’re not legal experts here at NRS. Generally, it’s not illegal for a youth to leave home, but your friend’s mother could file a runaway report and the police could get involved. However, if there is neglect in the home and the youth was placed with a different relative that may change how the police would handle the situation. If a youth runs away to live with someone else, the youth’s guardian could charge the other people with harboring a runaway, but that would most likely only occur if they did not cooperate with the police. You could consider calling your local non-emergency police department to ask about their policies. We also have legal aid resources here if you have specific questions about the laws in your state.

        Your friend’s guardian has a legal obligation to care for her, so if she does not have a place to live, you or your friend could consider calling Child Protective Services again to explain what’s going on. If you want other information related to making abuse or neglect reports, you could call Child Help at 1-800-422-4453 or you could call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or chat with us online.

        If you haven’t already, you could consider reaching out to a trusted adult, relative, worker/teacher/counselor at your school for help and support.

        There are also many resources that could help your friend find a safe place if she’s in need, or help with anything else you may need. If you want to talk more about what’s been going on, or if you would like more information about resources, you or your friend can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or chat with us online.

        Again, thank you for contacting us. It sounds like you’ve been going through a really hard time, but you’ve shown a lot of strength by working through these challenges and reaching out for help. If you ever need anything in the future, please feel free to call us or chat with us online. We’re always here to listen and here to help.

    • #5
      I'm 16, I live in Michigan. This by no means is an emergency I just need some advice.


      My parents are divorced and living in separate towns. We go one week at dad's and one week at mom's, then repeat. I love my parents but at my dad's house the living conditions are very much undesirable for my sister and I (uncontrollable mess that continually gets worse, our room doubles as a hallway to the bathroom, the stairs, and the back room, and we have no control over what happens to our stuff). Would running to the other parent be a legal and or appropriate action?

      Comment


      • ccsmod1
        ccsmod1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there,

        Thanks so much for contacting us, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and share your story. It sounds like staying with your dad can be really stressful since accommodations aren't really appropriate. It sounds like you're in a sticky situation since custody agreements may be at play. It may be beneficial to talk to your mom about issues at your dad's to see if she would be able to take on full custody - this may or may not need to involve lawyers or court appearances. If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

        All the best,
        NRS

    • #6
      Hi I am a 17 year old, and I am running away I have seen many sources saying that it is legal for a 17 year old to run away and so many others saying that it isn’t, but many of those are old and outdated. I need something new to help me understand. I live in Michigan and while I know that you all aren’t legal consultants. I do know that you help people in this all of the time. So I ask is it illegal for me, at over 17 to run away from my parents to go and live with another parent? Will it get others in trouble? And what should I do to get out of my house?

      Comment


      • ccsmod0
        ccsmod0 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for reaching out. After reading your posting we noticed that it has a lot of similarities as another users post. We have attached a quote from that posting. If you have any follow-up questions we strongly encourage you to give us a phone call. 1-800-786-2929
        Best wishes,
        NRS
        Hello,
        Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Safeline.
        We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on.
        Just so that you know we are not legal experts and only can provide some general legal information when it comes to someone running away or someone assisting/aiding a person running away.
        Someone under 18 that leaves home, the parent/guardian may file them as a runaway and they may be returned home. Also, those that a reported runaway stays with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. Anyone found to be assisting or aiding someone to run away may also find themselves at risk legally. For more specifics on the law, you might consider contacting the local non-emergency number for the police. You might also look for a legal aid center in the area. They may be able to answer any legal questions on the subject.
        If you would like to talk more in detail we are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
        Take care,
        NRS
        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: Your Opinion Matters to Us

    • #7
      Hi, I'm 16 and for my mental health don't want to deal with they way I'm being treated at home. I'm in no physical danger but feel I'm being emotionally abused. Would I get in any legal trouble for running away?

      Comment


      • ccsmod9
        ccsmod9 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,
        Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. It seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
        While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
        We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
        Be safe,
        NRS

    • #8
      Hi, I'm 16. I really want to leave, because it is making me go insane. I'll be 17 in 4 months. If i llived with my friend, had a job, payed rent. could i still get in trouble. Also what if [email protected] being mentally abused?

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello There,

        Thank you for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are going through a frustrating time right now, and we want you to know you are not alone.
        We are not legal experts but we do have some information on what could happen. Because you are a minor even at 17 if you were to leave without permission your legal guardian could file a runaway report. If the police were to find you they most likely would bring you back home. If you are being abused in any way you do have the right to make a report. You can call Child Help at: 1800-422-4453. You can also call us or chat with us and we can help you with making a report.
        We hope this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any more questions or would like to explore options please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide support. Best of luck!
        NRS

    • #9
      I really need to leave my house, the emotional abuse is so hard on me. I can't take it, and I'm running out of options so this seemed like the best one. I'm 16, if I were to tell my parents I'm leaving or staying at a friends house, would it be considered running away still? I don't want to be taken back to them and I just want to avoid the police.

      Comment


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello There,
        Thank you so much for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are going through a difficult situation and we want you to know you are not alone.
        You do not deserve to be abused in any way, and you do have the right to report abuse. You can call Child Help at 1800-422-4453 if you would like to make an abuse report.
        We know you mentioned wanting to leave, we are not legal experts but we do have some information on the laws. Even if you were to let your parents know where you are at, if they do not grant you permission that would be considered running away. If they were to file a runaway report and the police were to find you they most likely would bring you back home.

        We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to explore more options please give us a call. We are available by phone or by chat 24/7. Best of luck,
        NRS

    • #10
      Hey um, I'm only 12 and 11 months old. I want to run away and I know thats not a good idea right now because I wouldn't be able to get a job even like McDonald's until I'm 15-16 I think so if I do then I'll probably do it when I'm 15 or 16.

      I've just been so abused verbally, emotionally, and not sure if it's sexual but my dad sometimes opens the shower door and talks to me while I'm showering and he kind of made fun of me when I kept telling him to get out of the bathroom and acted like I was a snowflake and so did my 17 year old sis (this singular incident happened about a month or two ago). He's also racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and is a narcissist and that really sucks when I'm pansexual and am probably non-binary too. He's threatened to physically hit me so much, and has screamed, and guilt triped me even more times to the point where I block lots of memories out or cant remember them in chonological order, started to self harm as a coping mechanism a year ago and tried to end it all around 4 months ago I think. He has threatened to kill me too at least 4 times where I have been scared for my life but no one really protected me or been able to get him away. I resent my mom for letting it get to this point.

      Anyways, I know that CPS can take me away at this point and even my therapist (she sees me every Monday atfer the suicide attempt thanks to the school) asked if I wanted someone else to take care of me. But there are three main problems with that, one, I might have to go to another school and I'd lose what support I have with the kids there, I'd probably lose my therapist too, and I'd still want to be able to see my mom and my sister despite me being really angry at them for letting all that's happen, happen. Two, the Childcare system is really, REALLY, messed up and they don't really care about what would be the best home for you, and lots of those homes (from what I've heard) are abusive or toxic too and if your part of the LGBT+ and they don't take that into account they could give you homophobic and transphobic parents, or abusive ones. Third reason is that if the CPS people looked around my house and stuff and my dad found out well.... to put it lightly in my opinion he hasn't psychically attacked me just threatened to, but he will soon probably and that could be the last straw...

      Im so, so, SO, tired and I want to kill him or myself to excape. I don't feel like if I stay in this situation that I'll make it to be 18 and be able to excape this hell-hole in the usual way. I don't what to do and it feels like a lose, lose, lose situation no matter what. Please help. Also if it changes anything at all I live in Michigan.

      Comment


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there. Thanks for reaching out to 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. It sounds like you're having an especially tough time with things at home and with your dad, and we're sorry to hear that. It seems like you've spent a lot of time thinking about some of your options, which is a great starting point--kudos to you for being so resourceful.

        It's definitely understandable why you'd be concerned about what actions CPS might take if they were to become involved with your family. There are a lot of factors at play and there's no way of knowing what might come, but it's important to keep in mind that your safety (and the safety of your siblings) is a priority. It might require some shifting and adjustments or make you feel uncomfortable, but if it means you're safe, it might be worth it. It's also important for you to know that you might just be your own biggest advocate, and it's okay for you to share your concerns and any of your thoughts with a CPS worker. You can ask questions and make suggestions. This doesn't mean that CPS will do whatever you say, but they may be open to considering it. It might also be a good idea to think about any family or friends that you'd be able to stay with. If your parents agree, then there might not be a need to get CPS involved. But if CPS does get involved, it's possible that they'd consider allowing you to stay with that family member or friend.

        You mentioned going to therapy and it sounds like you have a good relationship with your therapist. It sounds like there a few different circumstances where you feel you'd be at risk of harm by your dad or that you'd might pose a risk to yourself or your dad. It's definitely important to pay attention to those feelings and to make sure that you have a plan in place should they arise. If you're open to it, it might be a good idea to ask your therapist to help you come up with a safety plan should you find yourself in one of those circumstances. A safety plan will help you decide the immediate next best steps to take during those moments. We're also happy to help safety plan with you as well, so please feel free to reach out to us directly if that's something you're interested in. In the meantime, if you ever feel that you're in imminent danger (whether by your father or to yourself), please try to get somewhere safe and call your local law enforcement agency for immediate support. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also a resource that you can reach out to if you're harming yourself or thinking about killing yourself. Their phone number is 1-800-273-8255 and they also have a 24/7 live chat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You might also be interested in The Trevor Project, which is an LBGTQ+ Youth Suicide Lifeline. Their phone number is 866-488-7386 and they also have a 24/7 live chat on their website at www.thetrevorproject.org. If texting is easier, you can also text with them by texting START to 678-678.

        If you'd like to chat more about what's going on at home, please feel free to reach out to us directly here at NRS. We're available 24/7 by phone (1-800-RUNAWAY) or chat (www.1800runaway.org), and are always happy to listen, and to help.

        Take care.

        NRS

    • #11
      I just turned 16, and I hate being with my mom. I have been thinking about running away for months.
      she is mentally abusive telling me in a flunk out in school, and how she hates me just all of the above. Its too much. Idk where I'm going to stay. But I'm trying to keep myself alive so I don't go insane

      Comment


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there. Thanks for reaching out to 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. It sounds like things between you and your mom are pretty challenging right now, and we're sorry to hear that. It's not okay that she's telling you such hateful things, and we're so glad that you're trying to find help.

        Running away is a pretty big decision, and it's generally a good idea to have a plan in place before committing to it, which it seems like you're trying to do now. Consider where you'll go, how you'll get there, and what you'll do to survive once you're there. It's also helpful to spend some time thinking about your safety and what steps you can take to try and safeguard that. It's important that you approach this time from a realistic standpoint and that you have some tough conversations with yourself about what you want, what makes the most sense to get you to that point, and if there are any other worthy options you might be able to consider along the way.

        Generally speaking, there are a few options of places to go that we discuss with young people who are thinking about running away. Staying with family and friends is one option. Staying in a youth shelter is another option, though it's important to know that these are typically short-term and temporary options. Sometimes they require parental consent or notification after a certain amount of time as well. Depending on the state that you live in, you also might be able to explore emancipation or transitional living programs. It can be helpful to spend some time researching each of these options to see if they're appropriate ones for you. And if you'd like to explore any of them further, you're welcome to reach out to us directly and we'd be happy to assist. We might also be able to provide you with local referrals in your area.

        If you'd like to talk more, please feel free to reach out to us directly by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY, or by chatting with us live at www.1800runaway.org. We're available 24/7 and are always happy to listen, and to help.

        Take care.

        NRS
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