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Leaving home at 17?

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  • Leaving home at 17?

    I'm 17 and live in Colorado. I live with my mother, who is extremely emotionally abusive and manipulative. I need to get out. She has told me multiple times that if I were to leave, she would call the police and file a report. However, I turn 18 in five months, and I absolutely cannot wait that long and I have a few questions.

    If I ran away and my mom filed a report, would the police actually be actively searching for me? Would they interview friends and family? How long would they look for?

    In Colorado, the law states that if I run away, I'd be classified as a homeless youth, and it wouldn't be a status offense. Does this mean that the police would come looking for me after she filed the report?

    I also would like to finish school, and go to college next year but would that be possible if I ran away? Could the police get me from school and return me to my mom?

    The law isn't clear on emancipation in Colorado, but I have had a steady job the last few years, I pay for most of my expenses, and I have a friend who is willing to let me stay in a spare room if I pay rent. However, it would be nearly impossible for me to get my mom's permission. Is there any way I can still become emancipated?

    Is running away and finishing school a viable option or is it one or the other?


  • #2

    Thanks for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline. It sound like you’re in a difficult situation with your mother and we are sorry to hear how she is treating you. It sounds like you have goals and being thoughtful about how you move forward in your situation. We are here to help and here to listen.

    You are asking really good questions! It is difficult to know exactly what the police would do in this situation and difficult for us to answer specific legal questions because we are not legal experts. A good option to get some information may be to contact your local police department on their non-emergency line. Also, if you call or chat with us directly we can provide you with the general knowledge we know about emancipation law in Colorado.

    Just so you know if you would like to discuss your situation more in depth you can contact us immediately at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We are a completely confidential hotline that is available 24 hours a day. There is always someone available to provide support, discuss options, and find resources in your area if needed. We also have an online crisis chat set up that is currently available from 4:30p to 11:30p CST to where we can specifically answer your questions more to your situation. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime. 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)
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