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Possible 17 y/o runaway - help?

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  • Possible 17 y/o runaway - help?

    Needless to say, I wish to "runaway" from home. I place that between quotations because I'm turning 18 in about 4 months, I have a responsible adult that will support for me that I'm not related to and is willing to take me in. The place I would flee to is less than 10 minutes away from where I live now, an emotionally abusive home that has gotten increasingly worse within the past months and I have several recordings from the past few days to prove it.
    My responsible adult spoke to a sheriff of our community today and explained our situation. In Montana, running away is not a status offense, so I won't get into any trouble per say. However, he did mention that I can be called in as a runaway, (I am going to aware the police of my whereabouts, as well as my family, when I do) but most parents and law enforcement officers allows the child to stay in the desired, safe place. That being said, my mother is actually insane and will kick and scream as hard as she can to get me back. Do I have a right to say no? Will they force me into some other kind of housing like foster care, or a mental health institution due to my depression and anxiety because of my mother? If I keep running away, will I get in trouble? Thank you

  • #2

    Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like things are very difficult for you at home, and it is causing you to feel depressed and anxious. It is understandable that you would want to leave that situation.

    While running away usually does not result in any serious consequences, your mom does have the ability to file a runaway report. If your mom knows where you are, she can also contact the police in an effort to try to get you home. The other thing to think about is that while running away is only a status offense, people who take in runaways can get in trouble for "harboring" a runaway if they do not contact the authorities (usually the police or child and family services). That is why shelters will usually contact child and family services if someone under the age of 18 goes to a shelter.

    It sounds like you are worried about being placed in foster care or going to a mental health institution. That is a really normal and understandable fear. Because of your age it is very unlikely you would be placed in a foster program. And if you were to talk to someone about how you are feeling, more than likely they would try to support you. If you are interested in resources like counseling services you can always give us a call.

    Ultimately, it sounds like you will be turning 18 in 4 months. At that point you will have a lot more freedom. If you are still thinking about leaving your home, there may be some things to think about. If you wanted to chat about that you can always give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY or reply here or reach out to us on our chat.

    Best, 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)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


    • #3
      I really appreciate your reply. However, I truly have no wish of returning to this house after I leave, and I'd like to leave as soon as I can once I have peace of mind. What can I do to better my chances of not being brought back?


      • ccsmod10
        ccsmod10 commented
        Editing a comment
        You mentioned that you're going to " aware the police of my whereabouts, as well as my family, when I do" when you runaway. That may higher your risks of being found and brought back. We're not legal experts but calling the sheriff, like you did, is probably the best way to get your local runaway laws. You're more than welcome to call them back or we can call them together through our conference calling service if you need help calling again. We do get a large number of emails, we do have to limit email replies to three individual responses to answer any questions that you have or to provide you with a number of means of support. So it’s certainly not a means to communicate to get the full support that you can get if you called in.
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