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I'm 17 and live in New York State, can I leave home?

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  • I'm 17 and live in New York State, can I leave home?

    I'm 17 years old and live in Utica, New York. Things are really rough with my mom and where we live, and there is a possibility I could be pregnant. I want to move to Rome and finish school there. Can I just leave home if I have somewhere to live? If my mom calls the cops can they come find me, and force me to come back? Even if I have somewhere to live and food to eat?

  • #2
    re: I'm 17 and live in New York State, can I leave home?

    Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out today and asking you question here. It sounds like you’re going through a lot with your mom right now. It’s understandable that you’re thinking about leaving. It can be scary to be pregnant and to figure out how to move forward from there. It’s smart of you to reach out and ask these questions, so let’s see how we can help you out.

    We aren’t legal experts here, but we are able to speak generally about this. If you decide to leave home at 17 without your mom’s permission, then your mom has the right to file a runaway report with the police. If the police take the report, then they could pick you up and bring you back home. It’s not illegal to be filed as a runaway, but you could be brought back home. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter if you have a safe place to go – you could still be brought back home. The reason for that is because your mom is legally responsible for anything that happens to you until you gain that right for yourself at 18.

    Now, in some places across the United States, a 17 isn’t considered a legal adult, but the police wouldn’t bring them back as long as they are in a safe place. To find out if you live in a place like that, you can call your local police department and ask them.

    We hope that this is a helpful start for you. If you’d like to talk more or have any other questions, please call or chat with us at 1800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our website ( from 4.30pm-11.30pm central time.

    We look forward to your call or chat.

    Best of luck to you,

    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
      Im 17 years old and i Live in New york city. I am citizen here, Can they force me to go back to my home country and can they make me come back home if i leave.


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment

        Thanks for reaching out to ask your question. We’re sorry to hear that someone is trying to make you leave your home. We are not legal experts here at the National Runaway Safeline, but we are able to offer some general advice.

        When you asked if they can force you back to your home country, are you asking about the U.S. government making you leave or about your parents taking you back to their home country? Regarding the government, if you are a U.S. citizen you usually cannot be deported to another country. If you were born in the U.S., you are a citizen from birth and your citizenship cannot be revoked. If you were born elsewhere and became a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process, you can only be deported in extremely rare circumstances. If you are concerned about that, you may wish to talk to a lawyer for advice.

        Regarding your parents taking you out of the U.S., that can depend on your situation. It can depend on whether you are a dual citizen. We would need to know more about your specific circumstances to help you learn about your rights. If you were to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY or chat with us a t we will be able to learn more about the situation and help connect you with the resources you need to determine your rights.

        As for coming back home after you leave the U.S., it will also depend on your specific situation. Within the U.S., leaving home without the permission of your parents before you are a legal adult is not allowed and the police may return you to your parents. Leaving another country to come back to the U.S. is a more complicated situation and again will depend on your circumstances. Calling or chatting with us can help us help you.

        Best of luck,


    • #4
      I am 17 and i am mentally, emotionally abused and i am medically neglected. I don't feel safe at home. I can't open up and talk to my parents with out them screaming and yelling at me and making me feel worthless do i have the right to leave home without having any legal issues?


      • ccsmod2
        ccsmod2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey There,
        Thank you for contacting The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are going through a really difficult time right now. Ideally home is where you feel safe and loved and we are sorry that is not the case. If you wish to file an abuse report you can always call Child Help at- 1800-422-4453. We know that sometimes making a report can be scary if you would like our help you can call us at any time. You also have the right to call the police at any time if you do not feel safe.
        We are not legal experts but we do have some knowledge of the laws. If you are a minor and decide to leave without permission your parents do have the right to file a runaway report. If the police do find you and find it safe for you to go home they will most likely return you home.
        We hope this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to explore your options more please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide you with support. We wish you the best of luck!

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