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17 in Illinois and need to get out.

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  • 17 in Illinois and need to get out.

    My boyfriend is 17 and lives in Illinois with his mom and stepdad. His mom is emotionally abusive towards him, to the point where he feels hopeless and even suicidal at times.

    He would be able to come and stay with me, - I live with my mom but she would be willing to let him stay with us, at least until he turns 18 and/or gets a steady job, but...
    ​a) he's still 17, won't turn 18 until July
    ​​​​​​b) he has an emotional support animal that he's pretty unwilling to leave
    c) his mom doesn't want him to leave, at least until his birthday
    ​​​​​​d) I live in Michigan

    We're both a bit at a loss about what to do. He needs to get out and I'm honestly worried about what could happen before his birthday. What, if anything, can be done right now?

  • #2


    Hello and thank you for contacting the National Runaway Safeline. We are sorry to hear that your boyfriend is going through some tough times, but it is good to hear that you are a reliable support for him who is looking out for his interests. If he is struggling with suicidal ideation, it is important that he knows that he can reach out for help and that his life is worth living. His mom being emotionally abusive is more a reflection of herself and her character, not his. If he wants to, he can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline just to talk at 1-800-273-8255.


    While we are not legal experts, we do have experience with how running away works in the US. If he runs away as a minor in the state of Illinois, his parents would be entitled to file a runaway report. This would allow the police to return him to his guardians should they encounter him. Runaway reports do extend across state lines and our experiences indicate that police would be able to return him whether he was found within Illinois or without. Additionally, anyone knowingly aiding and abetting him could risk being charged with harboring a runaway. Typically, this is considered a misdemeanor offense. That being said, we have heard of some instances where police do not force a 17 year old who has run away to return home because they are so close to being 18. We do not want to mislead you by telling you that will happen, but the best way you could find out would be to contact your local police non-emergency number and ask them how they handle runaway reports. We can say that we have had significant experiences like that in Michigan, but not in Illinois. However, because the report would be filed in Illinois, his home state, it is likely that Illinois practices would be used. It may be worth it for you guys to avoid the risks and wait until he is 18. That being said, you know the most about your situation and ultimately you know what is best for you guys.


    If you would like to speak more specifically about what’s going on or explore what other options there may be, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-786-2929 or on chat at 1800runaway.org.
    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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