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Im 16 and I want to know what I'm legally able to do

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  • Im 16 and I want to know what I'm legally able to do

    So I'm 16, my mom keeps locking me out and has threatened to report me a runaway if I leave home without her permission. Is it legal for me to leave home for the day to see my boyfriend or friend? Even without her consent? Also.. If I were to run away how long would the cops look for me? I want to be free from my mom and I would love to live elsewhere while working on my emancipation. On top of that my mom is extremely emotionally and verbally abusive. I'm done with high school and I have my own job but I'm worried about the cops making me go back. I need answers please...

  • #2
    Reply: Im 16 and I want to know what I'm legally able to do

    Hi there,

    You mentioned wanting to know how you can leave home before turning 18. The easiest way to leave home is with your mom’s permission. We understand that might be challenging, however, maybe there’s another family member, relative, or a family friend who could help you to communicate what you would like to see happen to change the situation between you. The second way is through Child Protective Services if safety is a concern. It is illegal for a parent to lock their child out of the house. If this should happen you might consider contacting your local police department or child protective services and make them aware of your situation. Lastly, you can also look into emancipation options. (Although it sounds like you are already looking in to it.) In most states you need to be at least 16 to be considered and demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and independently. Emancipation often can be a lengthy process and may even cost some money for court fees. We would be happy to look into emancipation resources for you. As far as the police are concerned. Once there is a runaway report filed it remains opened until the person is located. The police can opt to investigate any and all information they may come across that lead them to locating and returning a runaway home.

    We understand that it has been hard dealing with your mother’s abusive behavior. You are very brave to reach out. You don’t deserve to be abused in any way. You are not to blame for your mother’s behavior. There are laws to protect minors from abuse. Child help USA 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 etc.

    NRS is here to listen and here to help.
    If you would like to speak more about your situation, please reach out soon so that we may offer support and resources to you. Our number is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or live chat at

    Be safe,

    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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