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17 wanting to move out. Family issues

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  • 17 wanting to move out. Family issues

    I am 17 years old, it is october 28th & i am turning 18 on december 24th.. less than two months now. I live on a reservation, the law & rules are different, things are handled differently than other places.

    I am a senior, less than 4months from graduating early. My dad has custody of me but he lives in iowa while in live in north dakota with my mother. Does he have rights? Since he lives in another state but has custody of me, wouldn’t he be guilty of abandoning his parental rights? Anyways. My mother wants to move back, she won’t let me stay with my grandmother or grandpa, who live in two different houses. She says if i stay i’d have to live with my grandpa but he has a history of sexually abusing somebody, a family member of mine & i’ve been down that road. I had the courts involved with another person who abused me so i don’t want to be put in this situation again. My mother wont let me live with my grandmother or auntie so i want to move out and “run away” if thats what you call it.

    My dad called and said he wants me back but the last tie i checked hes no parent to me. My dad was also guilty of molesting somebody & is a terrible drunk. I dont want to be with him.

    Meanwhile my mother is crazy, controlling, doesnt pay much attention to me, treats me some way because i dont attend church, shes crazy religious, and she degrades me.

    I have less than 4months of school left, i am valedictorian & have scholarships. If i move back to Iowa, to a school of over 600 students in the senior class, i won’t have the opportunities i have now.

    what can i do? Would i be in trouble for running off or moving with my grandma & auntie?

  • #2
    Thank you for reaching out to us here at NRS. We know that you have much to think about not to mention you must be going through a stressful. We appreciate you taking the time to stop by and ask for help. Our hope is that we would provide you with tips and resources to help you make a more informed decision in your situation.

    Though we are not legal experts, from what we can gather from your story it seems like home is really hard for you right now. As far as being 17 if you were to run away because you are 17 you are still considered a minor so that would give your parents/guardians the right to file a runaway report to the police. From there if your guardians or police knew where you were they would be able to take you back home. As far as the person housing you they would possibly be charged with Harboring a Minor. The further consequences depend on every state and their own laws. However because you are 17 and super close to being 18 most police would not file you as a runaway or bring you back since you are close to being an adult. Again we aren’t legal experts but from what we know there wouldn’t be any serious consequences for you or anyone who helps you. If you were in need of assistance as far as shelters, transitional living programs etc. We here at NRS can help give you more specific information about the options you have.

    Again we want to commend your bravery for contacting us we know it takes a lot to seek out help. If for any reason you would have more questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us either by phone at (1-800-786-2929) or online through the chat option at (

    Best Wishes-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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