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17 years old in Texas, need to leave home

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  • 17 years old in Texas, need to leave home

    Hello, I am here today because I am leaving my house and need to know my legal opinions, I am 17 am living in Texas and graduating school in October of 2018, my mother has bipolar disorder and I need to leave asap, they are away right now until Sunday so I'm with my grandparents, I need to know my options, will the people I'm staying with get in trouble for harboring a runaway? Do I need proof of my mom saying get out of her house? Will I be able to get I license, (I have a permit already)? How can I go about getting my medications which I need to function normally? I have a place to stay and such, i have until Sunday night when my parents come back to figure this out
    i still plan on attending school, and know how to get there and back

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you’re going through a really rough time at home and you are trying to figure out how to maintain the life you have now as best as possible. We appreciate how you’re considering planning for your well-being and we hope to help however we can.

    We aren’t legal experts, and even if we were, runaway laws vary from place to place within the U.S. So the information we provide is general, and may be different from the laws that are enforced where you live. You can feel free to direct some of your questions at your non-emergency police department (not 911). You do not have to provide any personal or identifying information about yourself that you think might jeopardize your safety. If you have difficulties finding your community’s non-emergency police department’s contact info, then call us at 1-800-786-2929 for help.

    Generally, if you leave home without permission before you turn 18, you could be filed as a runaway. Running away is generally not illegal, and often results in the police simply returning a youth home. There is a rare chance any adults you stay with while you’re a runaway could be charged with harboring you. Penalties for this offense vary from state to state, but this charge often requires the police and your parents to want to file the charges. Because of that, it’s somewhat rare to be charged with this.

    If your mother told you to leave her home, having proof that she said this could be helpful if legal problems come about when you leave home. If your mother told you to leave home, she may still file a runaway report to the police – in essence, she can lie to the police or change her mind about letting you leave home without telling you. You could show the police that your mom told you the leave your home. But, you may wish to know that if you do this, the police may be obligated to report your mother for neglect.

    As far as your license, we are not sure if running away will present any obstacles for you. It seems that even if you were filed as a runaway and unable to get your license because of this, you would be able to get your license at 18 years of age, when runaway reports no longer become valid on people who are not missing.

    We aren’t sure what obstacles you have in getting your medication, but we may suggest reaching out to the health professionals responsible for your care to see what they suggest. We aren’t legal experts, and we definitely are not experts at health law.

    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: **https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think
    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
      Hello in Harris County, Houston Texas if i were to run away at the age of 17 (5 months away from my 18th birthday) would me or the people i stay with suffer any legal consequences if i am not in any danger

      Comment


      • ccsmod10
        ccsmod10 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,
        Thank you so much for reaching out to us here at NRS. We are happy to help you out and it shows a lot that you reached out to us. We are not legal experts so we can’t give guaranteed answers however we can talk about some patterns we have noticed or things that could come up however, each state and sometimes each county is a little bit different. For specific references and resources, please feel free to contact us personally either on our 24/7 online live chat or at our 24/7 toll free hotline at 1(800)786-2929.
        In regards to your question, the legal age of adulthood in the US is 18. Some states vary in that and you can check here: https://sexetc.org/action-center/sex-in-the-states/ (click on our state and then scroll down to the information section and look for age of minority/majority, if it says 17 age of minority that means legal age of adulthood is 18 (take the age of minority and add a year). Sometimes states have special laws for youth who are about to turn 18. It is possible you may be able to leave home legally without your parents’ permission but an option that you might consider is reaching out to your local police department’s non-emergency number to speak with them directly about the laws.
        In terms of the people you may be staying with suffering legal consequences, there are such laws called the harboring a runaway law. What this means is any person who is found having a youth who is listed as a runaway stay in their home, they could be charged with harboring a runaway. This law is not present in every state and the states it is present in may have a variety of ways of implementing it. For the most correct information on this law, you may want to consider the option of, again, reaching out to your local police department’s non-emergency number.
        We hope this information has helped and please feel free to reach out to us for any other references and help.
        Best,
        NRS

    • #4
      Im 17 years old I live in Texas I’m about to trun 18 in 2 months I wanted to know if I could run away and have no problems with the police .

      Comment


      • #5
        Reply: Im 17 years old I live in Texas

        Hello,
        Thank you for writing to us here at 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. 18 years old is generally the age that an individual may leave home without permission from their parent or legal guardian. We are not legal experts here but we can speak in general terms. If you are under 18 and leave home without permission, your parent/guardian may file a runaway report with the police.

        Since you are so close to becoming 18 you might check with your local police department to inquire about the runaway laws in your state or if someone moves out of their parent or guardian’s home at 17 without permission would they be considered a runaway and forced to return home.
        If you would like to talk more about your situation we are here to listen and here to help.
        To speak with someone on our crisis or chat line contact 1-800-Runaway (786-2929) or www.1800runaway.org

        We look forward to hearing from you.

        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
        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


        • #6
          I'm 17 in Texas. My whole family(including me) that I live with has bipolar disorder, my father is out of the picture. I planned on letting them know that I would be staying with my boyfriend and his parents so I wouldn't be reported as missing. I would be safe and in no harm, I would still be going to school and
          I would br getting all my basic needs. My mental health is suffering because I am being forced to live with a narcissist and someon who is controlling and stubborn. Any advice?

          Comment


          • ccsmod2
            ccsmod2 commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you for reaching out to us and telling us your story. It sounds like you are going through a difficult time right now and we hope to be able to help you. You mentioned telling your family that you plan on staying with your boyfriend and it’s great that you have thought of a solution that could possibly make your situation better. Although we are not legal experts at NRS, generally a youth leaving home is not illegal. Leaving home only becomes an issue if the youth’s legal guardian does not give permission for the youth to leave. In your case if your family does not approve of you leaving and you still decide to leave, your family could file a runaway report, the police could get involved, and they could bring you home. Your boyfriend and any other adult staying in the house could potentially get charged with what is called “harboring.” In some cases the police will hold a youth in juvenile detention for 24 or 48 hours, or until the legal guardian can pick up the youth. Some police departments don’t accept runaway reports for 17 year olds, but the policies may vary by each department. You could consider calling your local nonemergency 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 mental health is very important and if you’re not currently getting mental health resources you need, it can be really helpful to get treatment. As your mental health suffers, you have limited ability to handle the other stressors in your life. You can contact SAMHSA to connect you to mental health resources at 1-877-726-4727 or samhsa.gov. You may also want to talk to your school because they should have a counselor for you.
            It can be difficult to manage situations like this but you don’t have to do it alone. Here at NRS We offer mediation services through conference calls for youth who need additional support telling their families difficult things. This way you could have a conversation with your family but you would not be alone. For example, it may be hard for you to explain to your guardian why you no longer want to live with them. Sometimes those conversations go better in a conference call because we can advocate for you. If you want to reach us, you can chat with us anytime at 1800runaway.org or call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We’re here 24/7.

        • #7
          I'm 17 years old and I am living in Texas. I need to leave home and I'm trying to see if I can get emancipated so that I would become my own legal guardian. The problem is my parents will not let me and are keeping me locked up in the house so that I cannot go anywhere. My dad and stepmom sell drugs and my mom is bipolar. I'm scared for my safety and want to know if I can runaway and not have the police called and they drag me back home.

          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 sounds like you’re quite overwhelmed by things at home right now and you mentioned being harmed. We’re sorry you’re going through this. You don't deserve to be hurt in any way. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. You may also be able to report any mistreatment to CPS. Child Help USA 1-800-422-4453 www.childhelp.org is an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. It may also be a good place to explore options for staying with another family member or someone you trust as far as transferring custody.
            Often, having a safe space to share how you’re feeling may bring a variety of solutions previously not thought of. You are not alone in this. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time.
            If you would like to talk more in detail please chat soon through our website www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button) if you are unable to call in. We unfortunately cannot give advice as we are non-directive. You know your situation best
            We hope to hear from you soon.
            Be safe,
            NRS

        • #8
          Im 17 and have 1 year left and I want to run away because of my dad and hes trying to take am away from my mom what could I do and plus I am introuble with the law could I get in trouble

          Comment


          • ccsmod7
            ccsmod7 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi there, thanks for reaching out today. Sounds like you are in a really difficult situation and your dad is trying to take you away from your mom. That sounds so hurtful. Here at NRS, we truly want to be a support for you.

            If you can, you might try to talk to your mom about what is going on. If she has any custody rights, she might be able to intervene.

            We are not legal experts here but we can speak in general terms. 18 years old is generally the age that an individual may leave home without permission from their parent or legal guardian. If you leave home without permission, your dad may file a runaway report with the police. What actions the police take once you are filed as a runaway can vary a lot from state to state and even city to city so we cannot predict exactly what would happen in your case. Generally speaking, if you encounter a police officer while reported as a runaway, you will likely be returned home. However, police could respond a variety of different ways due to your age, your current trouble with the law, and whether or not your are at your mom's and if she has any rights. It is possible there could be additional legal consequences for you if you are currently on probation. It is also possible that due to your age, they might not actively look for you as a runaway. Another thing to consider is that while running away is not a crime, a legal adult who allows you to stay with them may be putting themselves at risk for being charged with harboring a runaway. One way to find out the laws in your area is to call your local police and ask what their policies are regarding runaway youth.

            Please do not hesitate to call or chat if you have questions, need resources, or need to talk. We can explore your situation, go over all your options, and come up with a plan and resources to deal with your situation over the phone or on live chat.

            We are looking forward to hearing from you soon, and wish you the best of luck.

            1-800-RUNAWAY; www.1800runaway.org

        • #9
          I'm a 16 year old person turning 17 next month. I have graduated high school and I have a full-time job. I live with my grandmother and I cannot stand it. She treats me like I'm nothing. And I deal with a lot of emotional issues. I have a place to stay. It's safe. I have my job. Would I be able to leave once I turn 17?

          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 must be really hard to live in a home where you are treated like you are less than. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do. We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your grandma can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. Running away is a status offense; this means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned to your grandma. It's worth noting that if you do have someone to stay with in mind and the authorities locate you at their house they can be charged with harboring a runaway, which is a misdemeanor. Penalties for harboring a runaway vary from state to state, police officer to officer, and how your grandma views the situation.

            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.

            Stay safe,
            NRS

        • #10
          Im 17 years old and I would like to spend time with my boyfriend which I can’t becuase I’m afraid. He’s 21 and my mom does not aprove of the relationship but I do not want to runaway due to reason being I’m afraid something will happen. Will there be any legal consequences ??

          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 must be really hard to live in a home with so much tension. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do.

            We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your mom can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. Running away is a status offense; this means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned to your mom. If you go to stay at your boyfriend's house without prior permission from your mom, he could be charged with harboring a runaway, which is a misdemeanor. Penalties for harboring a runaway vary from state to state, police officer to officer, and how your mom views the situation.

            You mentioned that something might happen with your mom if you continue to see your boyfriend. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. If any harm or abuse is happening at home, you have the right to report it. If you feel like this is an option you want to explore, you may find this website helpful: https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/. We can also help you to file a report if that’s the route you are considering. It may also be a good idea to explore options for staying with another family member or someone you trust as far as transferring custody.

            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.

            Stay safe,
            NRS

        • #11
          I know a 17-year-old girl who tried to leave home and stay with her boyfriend and his parents because she is being mentally abused at home. The girls’ mother and step-dad called the police and filed a runaway report. This 17-year-old girl called the police for help and the police did absolutely nothing except take her right back to the horrible home that she tried to get away from. Her stepdad is selling and smoke marijuana. Her mother was just as bad as he was. Who is listening to the 17-year-old girls and boys who desperately need help???

          Comment


          • ccsmod1
            ccsmod1 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hey there,

            Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little bit about what's going on. If the girl you are talking about feels unsafe at home she has the right to report it to Child Protective Services. She can get more information by going to childhelp.org or calling 800-422-4453. Of course, it may be beneficial if she reaches out to us directly. We can be reached by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY or via chat by clicking on the chat link at the top of our home page.

            Stay safe,
            NRS

        • #12
          Hi, I'm 17 years old and need to leave home. I've been in a emotionally abusive and sometimes physically abusive home most my life. The relationship I have with my mother is very toxic, CPS has been involved but they never help me, they mandated therapy because I have a history of being suicidal due to the abuse I suffer from my mother. I've spoken to my therapist and my situation isn't getting any better no matter what anyone tries. I need to leave home, but I'm worried that anyone who helps me would be in trouble with the law, because I've tried to leave and my mom always says when I step out the door she's calling the cops, although she herself has said almost daily "If you don"t like it here then ********ing leave". She has kicked me out but anytime I actually try to leave after she says "Pack your bags and get the ******** out of my house" she goes crazy and threatens to call the cops, completely contradicting herself. At this point I'm leaving anyway but I just need to know if I could stay with a friend for a few days while I figure out where to go.

          Comment


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello, thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you feel very unsafe at home and have tried to get help from multiple people but nothing has helped much. We are so sorry to hear that! You do not deserve any of the abuse you have had.
            We are not legal experts, but in general, unning away is not a crime but a status offense. This means that if police were to pick you up, they would return you to your parents’ home.
            There are often other factors in play that could change how things work for you. For instance, in some states, police won’t bother re-homing a young person who is almost a legal adult. In most states, that is age 18. That can be up to local police departments or even individual police officers to determine when and how to enforce those laws.
            When you live with an adult, like your friend’s parents, they can sometimes be guilty of a crime called “harboring a runaway” if they let you stay with them. It’s pretty rare that this crime gets charged, especially when you’re closer to 18 like you are. But it could be a risk you want to consider.
            If you have other questions, you might want to call your local police department and ask them how they handle situations like yours. If you prefer, you can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY and we can call them for you. If you have any other questions, feel free to call us or start an online chat with us. We’re here 24/7, and we’re ready to listen and help however we can.

            Also, we understand CPS was not very helpful in the past when you reported the abuse. That is so disappointing! Child Help (1-800-422-4453 childhelp.org) is the national child abuse hotline, but they can help with more than reporting. They can safety plan, give you information on your rights or getting custody transferred if needed.

            You have shown a lot of strength in reaching out today! Thank you for your bravery!

            We are here 24/7 at 1-800-786-2929 and on live chat at the top of our website so reach out anytime!

        • #13
          I’m a 17 year old in Texas. Who wants to leave my home due to the fact that it’s emotionally and mentally unhealthy for me to stay here. I have a place to go but I don’t know if I’d be considered a runaway or missing persons? I don’t know the legal consequences for the person I’d stayed with?

          Comment


          • ccsmod8
            ccsmod8 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello there –

            Thank you for reaching out to us here on our public forum. Hopefully by helping you through your crisis, there are others in similar situations that can find it helpful as well. It can be hard not to know what do to in this situation. Looking at your questions you can see that they have been answered a few times throughout this forum thread. So for more information please look through and read some of the other responds that we gave to the same or similar questions.

            Best of luck!

        • #14
          I am 17 years old. My parents are always fighting and taking it out on me. The way they grab me and touch me is basically abuse in a way. I dont feel safe here. I dont feel like a belong at all. That may be a stupid reason but I wanna know if I can leave. I live in vidor Texas. I wanna know if the cops can do anything at all if I leave and move in with someone else.

          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

        • #15
          My brother is 16 going to be 17 in one month he is in an abusive house hold so bad he ran away 3days ago scared he called the cops and CPS...and they still sent him back to that house..when he turns 17 in the state of Texas can they still make him go back if he runs away again ?

          Comment


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi and thanks for reaching out! Sounds like you care a lot about your brother and want what is best for him. We are glad he has someone like you who cares! Thanks for reaching out on his behalf.

            We are not legal experts, but in general, the legal age in Texas is 18. Leaving before 18 means he could be filed as a runaway if he leaves without permission. Generally, police accept the runaway reports in Texas until their 18th birthday. You mentioned your brother is in an abusive home. He always has the right to report the abuse, which is sounds like he did but nothing came of it. That is really disappointing, to say the least. Generally, CPS has a last resort of separating families, which can seem very unfair and harmful when a child is being abused. Child Help (1-800-422-4453, childhelp.org) has crisis counselors on staff 24/7 to talk about abuse and help in next steps, such as filing another report (sometimes having multiple on file shoes CPS this is a pattern and any programs they have put into place is not working, abuse is continuing) or getting legal custody transferred to a safe adult. We can also help file another abuse report, if that is something your brother wants. Have him call us anytime, 24/7 at 1-800-786-2929 if he wants to pursue that.

            Another option may be emancipation or petitioning the court for custody to be transferred to another family member. Again, we are not legal experts, but if you and your brother want more info on this, we have many resources nationwide so reach out anytime!

            We are here by phone (1-800-786-2929) and live chat (at the top of the page here) 24/7 and can best help directly, so feel free to reach out there.
            Thank you again for advocating for your brother. You and he are both welcome to call or chat us anytime. We are anonymous and confidential!
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