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17 going to college

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  • 17 going to college

    Hi. So I’m 17, about to be 18 in 4 months. I want to go to a certain school who is giving me a free ride plus some money but my grandmother, who is my legal guardian, wants me to go to a school that would barely give me my housing. I’m planning to leave the day I have to move in and write a note saying I left and that she doesn’t need to take care of me anymore. I was just wondering if she could have the police escort me back to her house? Like would it be technically running away? I read that somewhere it said that at 17 I can’t be charged for running away and at 17 and 6 months I can’t be taken back. I also read that it’s not technically running away if I’m not in immediat danger or staying with anyone. I was wondering how legally sound that is. I’m in Virginia by the way, if that helps.

  • #2
    Hi there,
    Thanks for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline. We appreciate you sharing about the research you have already done. Sounds like you are in a tough place with deciding what to do as it seems like you care about your legal guardian but also want to make choices that you think are best for you.We aren’t legal experts, but we have general knowledge about running away. In most states, running away isn’t illegal, but what is called a status offense. You can’t get arrested for it but it will mostly likely go on your record until you are 18. The police will only know if you have runaway if your parents/guardians file a police report. We can’t say for sure how the police will respond, but we hear a lot that police will take potential places you might be and will actively search for you. If they come across you, the most likely will return you home to your parents unless you are 17, then it varies how they respond and if they even take a runaway report. Once you are 18 you can go where you please, and the police would not escort you back to your grandmother’s place. Until you are 18, things are inconclusive on how the police will respond and we would encourage you to reach out to your local non-emergency line to see how they respond to runaway reports at 17. If you want we can support you in calling out to them if you call into us directly at 1-800-RUNAWAY.
    We are here for you and will support you in anyway that we can. Please feel free to call into us directly as we can talk further about your situation and find resources that are best for you in your area. Stay strong and you are not alone in this!
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