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I'm 17 in California and want to move out without consent and finish highschool

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  • I'm 17 in California and want to move out without consent and finish highschool

    I'm living in California so I can't legally move out at 17 without my parents consent. I have a job, i'm financially stable and I only have a couple months of highschool left. My question is if I move out into a safe place in my area and IF my parents filed a runaway report, can I still go to my highschool and graduate without police or my parents interfering? Also if (and thats a big IF) they did file a runaway report, how will that affect my job, would they fire me? Oh and what does the law say about the rights of a 17 year old runaway in California? PLEASE NEED GOOD ANSWERS!

  • #2
    I'm 17 in California and want to move out without consent and finish highschool

    Thank you for contacting the National Runaway Safeline.

    It sounds like you are hoping to leave home before your eighteenth birthday but would like to if you can do so legally. Well it’s pretty tough for us to answers questions about school policies or predict how law enforcement might respond. We are not sure what you mean when you ask about your parents interfering. What is it that you think they might or could do to interfere?
    The other question about your job status puts us at another disadvantage because we cannot know what or how your employer might react or do. As far as what the laws and policies are in regards to someone being a reported runaway, you might consider contacting your local Police department’s non-emergency number to get information about this.

    We understand the seriousness of your situation. You can call 1-800-Runaway (786-2929) or visit to continue the conversation about your situation.
    There may be other options to explore with trying to come up with a plan.
    Conflict mediation services might be an option we can help you explore. How does that sound?

    You are really stepping up to advocate for your rights. Good for you.
    NRS is here to listen and here to help.

    We hope that you are able to work something out with your situation.
    Take Care,
    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!


    • #3
      I’m 17 I’m out of high school and I want to move out of my parents house without their Concent would I be willing to without getting in trouble?


      • ccsmod10
        ccsmod10 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there,

        Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to reach out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline. From your email to us here, we can see that you have very similar questions to a lot of our callers and you’re looking for some answers. It seems like there must be a lot going on in your life, especially at home, if you’re thinking about leaving home. It’s great that you were able to find out some information about our hotline. Hopefully we can help.

        As a minor (under the age of majority), you aren't able to leave home without your parents’ permission. We aren’t legal experts, but what generally what typically happens if a minor runs away, is that your parents would be able to make a runaway. You can’t be arrested for running away in some cases we’ve heard of police not taking runaway reports on youth who are close to turning 18. A good way to find out exactly what the police protocols are in your city, would be to reach out to your local non-emergency police. You can ask them hypothetical questions about running away.

        If you give us a call on our 24/7 fully confidential hotline, at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) we could help answer some of those questions you have and could potentially help you brainstorm a solution to the issues you are having. We also have an online chat service available through our website ( if you don’t feel like calling in to talk on the phone.

        Best, NRS

    • #4

      I’m thinking about running away at 16 I just turned 2 months ago).

      This next part is just my reason for running away, if that’s not important, you can skip this whole section. I live at home with my mom. Although she has hit me, I would not say she is physically abusive. However she may be verbally abusive. Many of my friends, family, teachers, and even doctors have said that here behavior may be contributing to my mental health problems. I have a suicide attempt under my belt and every argument her and I get into, I think about committing. That’s mainly because even things like asking for more food or messing up my chores, has her go down a 20 rant about me being a selfish, friendless, and terrible person who is going to fail in the real world. The only reason I haven’t attempted again yet is because I have someone who loves me, but if that person goes, I would probably end up attempting again. That person live in another state with their family, who they believe would potentially support me. I have straight A’s in school, I’m college bound, I have a perfectly good life ahead of me if I just wait 2 years. My family could afford everything I could ever want. But at the same time I just don’t know if I can wait. For starters, I don’t really care about college since the career I want doesn’t require it. Second, my reactions are really bad and unhealthy. She is my main trigger for suicidal thoughts and panic attacks. I’m not saying she is a terrible person. I’m pretty sure my mother loves me, but I don’t know if she loves me, or the person she is trying to force me into. She may be a nice woman, she is just not a good mother. I know you are not supposed to do this, but could you possibly tell me if this is a valid reason for leaving? If so, (next section)

      If I run away I would be going from CA to WA. I have a few bank accounts in my name, so I would just cash out as much as I can should could be around 0-$1k in cash, depending on how much the banks let me take out. I would get a bus ticket, exchange the plane ticket for one to Seattle on the next family trip we take. I am thinking of trying to score a live-in nanny or maid job. Or potentially crash with my friend’s family in WA, pay them rent, and get a job as a waitress or something else until this friend and I can move out on our own. What would be the best types of jobs I could get? If they are not live-in jobs, could my friend and his family get arrested, for housing me even if we all play along as say told them I was 18? Will the cops go though state lines to try and track me?


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello There,

        Thank you for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, it takes great courage to reach out and we are so glad that you have decided to reach out.

        We know you mentioned having a suicidal attempt, we are so glad you are here to share your story. We want you to know that there is always someone willing to listen and provide support. You can always call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: 1800-273-8255. As you know suicide is a permeant decision to a temporary situation.

        Because only you know your situation best, you are the best person to decide if running away is a good decision or not. We are not legal experts but we do have some information. If you were to leave home without permission, it is possible the police could bring you home. We want you to be safe, that is the top concern.

        We would like to help you explore your situation further and are here for you 24/7. You can reach us by calling or chatting into our hotline.


    • #5
      I’m 16 and also thinking about leavening, been thinking about it for months


      • ccsmod6
        ccsmod6 commented
        Editing a comment

        Thanks for writing to us. We’re so sorry to hear that this is happening to you. If you feel you are in immediate danger for any reason, please call the police or go to your local emergency room.

        To address your concern, if you choose to move out without your parent/ guardian consent, your parents/guardians could choose to file a runaway report with the police. The police will then find you and bring you home. Although you wouldn’t get in any trouble with the law, there is a possibility that the person you are staying with could be charged with harboring a runaway, which is a criminal charge. This issue goes away once you turn 18, since in most states you will be considered an adult.

        The way to get around this would be to get written permission from your parents/guardians (an email, text, note, etc) stating that you can leave. That way if they decide to press charges against whoever you are staying with, you have proof that they gave you permission to leave. Of course, this may not be easy or possible to do.

        When things get bad at home, you may consider getting your parents’ permission to stay with friends or family for a while to get a break. That way you don’t have to commit to running away, and you are able to stay with someone you feel comfortable with.

        If you still choose to runaway and you aren’t able to stay somewhere familiar, there may be some youth shelters in your area that can help you and your situation. You can feel free to look at them on your own or talk to us here at the NRS if you are interested in finding some.

        If you feel as though you are suffering from an abuse at home, you may consider filing an abuse report against your parents. We would invite you to call or chat with us if you are interested in learning more.

        If you would like to speak to a live person about your situation and get more personalized help, the NRS is here 24/7 via online chat or by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-880-9860). Thank you again for reaching out and we wish you the best of luck with everything!
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