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Colorado runaway laws

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  • Colorado runaway laws

    I am curious of the punishment for running away in Coloado for a minor under the age of 18

  • #2
    Re: Colorado runaway laws

    Hello, thank you for reaching out to us. In most places, running away isn’t criminal in nature, so there shouldn’t be any legal repercussions for a minor who runs away. If you do runaway, your parents or guardians could file a runaway report with the police, and the police could force you to return home. Although running away isn’t a crime, harboring a runaway is a misdemeanor. Something to think about if you or whoever you would be staying with are concerned. We are not legal experts here, so if you would like to speak to someone about how your local police handle runaway cases, you could call your local police department and ask hypothetically how they would respond.

    There’s a lot to think about when leaving home. Where to stay, how to get there, and how to pay for things are all challenges that many runaways come across. If you feel like you would benefit from talking to someone about your specific situation, we encourage you to call or chat with us.

    Best of luck,
    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 (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


    • #3
      Can I leve home at the age of 17 without having to return home my step parents? I am adopted by the father but the mother has no strings attached to me. I would call but have no phone so the only thing I can really do is chat. People have told me to contact CPS at some point and that is what I plan to do when I leave but I want to make sure my step parents or law force or whatever could drag me back in with my parents. It would make my situation worse if I ran and had to come back but if I stay here I think I might just explode.I have a place to stay and everything set up but before I leave I need reassurance that I won't have to come back. Also is there any possible way to be emancipated without parental consent? My step parents would never let me walk away that easy and that's why I would need help fighting for independence or just to live with someone else a friend, other relative, I would basically live anywhere else but where I am right now? Think you can help answer some of my questions?


      • #4
        Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like things you’re dealing with a lot with your step parents, but all of your questions make sense.

        We’re not legal experts, but our understanding is that it’s not illegal to run away. It’s what’s called a status offence. That means that if you run away, your guardians can file a runaway report. If they do that, the police’s job is to return you to your parents.

        In some instances, the police may not pursue the case very aggressively. If a youth is close to the age of 18, for example, they may not search very much. If you do get access to a phone, you can get a feel for how they might handle a case like yours by calling the police non-emergency line anonymously. You could describe a case like yours and ask how they might handle it, and you don’t have to identify yourself.

        It’s also worth thinking about whether you parents even would file a runaway report. Some youth live in an alternate arrangement with no runaway report filed. As a runaway, you have a right to attend school, according to the McKinney-Vento act.

        Like people have been telling you, contacting CPS is an option, too, if you are experiencing neglect or abuse. Guardians lose guardianship if they do things like that. If you do get access to a phone, you could call Child Help anonymously, to see if what you’re dealing with falls into those categories, and talk through what reporting would look like. They have to report any abuse you mention if you give your name, so if you don’t you can explore these options without committing to anything. Their number is 1-800-422-4453.

        There is a legal process called emancipation. Our understanding is that a youth has to demonstrate that they can support themselves without a guardian, and that this can be a pretty drawn out legal process. We do have numbers for free or sliding scale legal resources throughout the US, so we could provide those if you contacted us via chat or on the phone.

        It’s awesome that you have people who support you and a place to stay. If you do leave, consider having other people in your support network as well who you can reach out to, just in case your situation changes, or for emotional support.

        We hope this gives you a little more information, and helps you answer your questions.
        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 (Crisis Email)
        1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)


        • #5
          My 14 year old son and I got into a fight. He broke 2 of my TVs and destroyed his bedroom door. He said some pretty hateful words after that so I told him to leave my house. Since then I have told him to come home and he says no. I want to report him as a runaway but I am totally lost as what to do since because of the fight we had I did tell him to leave my house.


          • 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. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. While we are not legal experts from what we know you can file a runaway report and have the cops bring him back if they find him. It might be a good idea to talk somewhere in public. Talk about goals and rules that you want to set out. Even though you told him to leave you are still liable for him and could be caught in neglect if you aren’t actively looking for him (meaning you at least file a runaway report) after that you cannot be held liable for him because you have all the law asks of you. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email or bulletin for assistance. If you would like to talk more in detail and share more about how we can help specifically, please call or chat soon.
            Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); (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.
            We hope to hear from you soon.
            Be safe, NRS

        • #6
          I’m 17 and living in Colorado.My parents are divorced and i live with my mom half the time and my dad the other half of the time. My mom is very mentally abusive and made me and my brother shower with her on middle school and high school and often asked me when i was younger if i wanted to “makeout like a boyfriend and girlfriend do”. I want to pack up my things and leave and stay with my dad, if my mom called the cops on my and considered me a runaway what could the police officers do? would they take me back to her house? Am i aloud to choose which house i want to stay at?


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi there, thanks for posting! Home with your mom sounds really challenging and feels like you are feeling unsafe. You deserve to feel safe at home! What you describe may actually be considered abuse. We are not legal experts, especially regarding custody. Child Help (1-800-422-4453, is the national child abuse hotline and they can give more info on what is considered abuse, how to report (only if you wanted to), and how to stay safe and/or get custody transferred to someone else, like your dad full time. You may also consider talking to your dad about living with him full time and see if he can go to court and do so. If you have a case worker or advocate from when your parents divorced, they can also help you with this! Again, we a re not legal experts, but at 17, many teenagers are able to choose which parent to live with if they are divorced.

            Perhaps there is also a neutral party who can help you talk to your parents. We offer conference calling if you wanted help talking to your dad about this. Call 24/7 at 1-800-786-2929. You can also consider asking extended family members, a neighbor, family friend, etc for helping talking to your dad about this.

            If you want more information on the abuse your mom is doing, is another resource for you.

            You have shown a lot of strength in reaching out! We are here to support you and can best do so directly so call anytime or live chat with us on our website (using the link at the top of this page).
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