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  • Help needed!!!

    I am 16 years old and Ive lived in an abusive home for quite some time. I am adopted. I was always afraid of foster care as a child so I never reported the abuse but now that I am old enough to make my own decisions, I was wondering if my mom hands me over to the state, can I request a family friend to live with rather than them finding me a foster care family to live with or otherwise?? Please help. I'm also trying to get emancipated but for now I want to leave this house as soon as possible. I've already tried running away and my mom threatens to throw me and my boyfriend in jail if I leave again. What do I do? Legal advice anyone?? Is there any way I can safely live with my boyfriends family legally? They are willing to take me.

  • #2
    RE: Help needed!!!

    Hello there –

    Thank you for writing into the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like your main concern in your email is that you’re dealing with a lot at home living with your adoptive parents. Have you tried talking about what you have been feeling lately with anyone else (i.e close friends, other family members [aunts, uncle, cousin], school counselor, etc.)? It might be helpful to have someone that you really trust to know what is going on with your feelings, they can always provide you with direct support in person if you needed it.

    Now we aren't legal experts here so we can't tell you exactly on what would happen if you were to just leave home. The way that is usually works is whenever a child leaves home without parental consent, they are considered to be runaway. The laws on that specific subject of running away vary from state to state. Generally what typically happens in each state is if you are below the legal age of majority (18 in most states except Alabama and Nebraska [19 or upon marriage], and Mississippi [21]), your parents or legal guardian would be able to make a runaway report in the event that you do run away. Since it’s only considered a statues offense and not a crime to run away, the only thing that would happen is that the police will pick you up and bring you back home. If you do leave home and go to your boyfriend’s house, your parents can send the police over there and if they aren’t complying they can get charged with “harboring a runaway” which leads to fines or sometimes jail time.

    The only way that you will be removed from your adoptive parents’ custody legally is if you report any abuse that was happening at home and there was an investigation or if you filed for emancipation (every state is different, but you have to be 16 years or older). Those are the only two ways that you can legally leave your home. Just know that you always have the right to report any abuse (physical, mental, sexual, harassment, and neglect) to your local police department or child protective service in your state. If that is something that you don’t really feel comfortable with doing, you can always give us a call to help answer any questions about the process or to walk you through what steps there are. No one deserves to be treated that way at all. If they do remove you from the household, they always look to other family members to place you before going into foster care.

    But if you were looking into emancipation we can give you some general knowledge of that process. Those laws regarding emancipation are different in every state, so we can’t tell you exactly how it works. What we know is that getting emancipated by the court is a process that does take a while. There also needs to be proof that the youth is able to support him or herself on their own and in some cases they will need to have their parents’ permission to get emancipated. For more specific details on what you would need in order to file for emancipation please visit this website (http://bostoncoop.net/lcd/emancipati..._appendix.html). This is a helpful little website that will guide you through that process of filing for your emancipation if you choose to go that route in the end. Another resource that we have for you here that will be able to give you some answers to your questions is a number to a general legal aid agency.

    If you give us a call on our 24/7 hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) we could help you find resources in your area and could potentially help you brainstorm a possible solution to the issues you are having. We would love to talk to you about what has been going on recently.. We also have an online chat service available every day.
    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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