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  • A few questions

    Hi. I'm seventeen, and I might be running away with a sixteen year old family member.

    If I leave school (I'm a senior), will I be able to return to school after I'm eighteen? As in, repeat senior year, or something, instead of getting my GED?

    Also, could I get charged with anything if I run away with a family member who is a bit younger than I am? I'll be eighteen when she's seventeen. We plan on coming back to our hometown when we're both eighteen.

    Lastly, as far as housing goes, we won't be able to turn to anyone we know. I know there are hotlines that will try to place us with some sort of shelter, but will they allow us to stay there at night time? Will we have to give them proof of ID or anything like that? We'd prefer minimal contact. This is my biggest concern, where to sleep safely.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

  • #2
    Re: A few questions

    Thank you for contacting NRS and sharing your situation. It sounds like you have several concerns with the laws regarding running away. Keep in mind we are not legal experts here and any information we give should be looked at only as general interpretation.

    First, you were wondering if you could return to school after you are 18. Many seniors are in fact 18, so it seems that your question pertains more to the amount of time you can take before re-enrolling back in high school. This may vary between different school districts. Have you considered contacting your school anonymously and asking them their policy?

    As to whether or not you will get charged with anything once you turn 18 and your cousin 17, to our knowledge it is illegal in some states to harbor a runaway. In some states you might also get charged with contributing to a delinquency of a minor. Your local police department would know what consequences someone in your area might face for this crimes. Have you thought about calling your local police department anonymously to find out what these consequences are?

    You also mentioned housing as your biggest concern. There are youth shelters which house youth overnight and also drop-in centers, which are generally for during the day. There are hotlines that can help find shelter should you and your cousin need a place to stay. You’re welcome to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we can look up and even conference call to shelters in your area. There is also the Covenant House Nineline 1-800-999-9999, which can help find shelters as well.

    Just so you are aware though, shelters are generally required by law to contact or gain consent from a minor’s parent or guardian within a certain period of time. This can range anywhere from immediately to 24, 48, or 72 hours. What do you think your parents would do if they were contacted by a shelter? Can you think of any place where they would agree to let you stay?

    Again, we’re glad you contacted us at NRS and felt comfortable voicing some of your concerns. Should you need more specific answers to your questions, you’re welcome to call us and we can provide you with legal aid referrals for your area. We hope some of the information we have provided helps and if there is anything else you need feel free to contact us at 1-800-RUNAWAY.

    Take care, NRS
    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)

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