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  • Leaving home at 16 in Texas

    There is nothing wrong with my home life, its just me. I'm depressed, have anxiety, and just don't want to be around my so-called friends anymore. My parents and friends all think I'm crazy for everything I've done and treat me like nothing. They absolutely don't care if they are too harsh in arguments of exclude me from events, they just make me feel terrible. I want to get away. I just want a few days or weeks of freedom. Just a time to be alone and think over my life and to hopefully see something different in life that I'm not seeing, or to see I'm better off in the community setting I'm in. I also want to know if its legal or illegal.

  • #2
    Re: Leaving home at 16 in Texas

    Hi there,

    Thank you for contacting us here through our online forum at the National Runaway Safeline (NRS).It sounds like you are looking for love, support, and understanding for what you are going through, but you feel that your friends and family are not meeting those current needs. Depression and anxiety can be very difficult to deal with, and it seems their behavior toward you is only making matters even more difficult. It seems you feel getting away for a little break would be helpful. It may help to think of where that place is (with a trusted family member or trusted friend) if you did decide to leave. We are not legal experts and laws vary across all states but generally 18 is the age at which a teen can leave home. Running away or leaving without permission is generally called a status offense in which your parent or guardian may file you as a runaway. We can help you obtain more specific information on laws in your state. If you wanted to talk more, receive emotional support, or obtain referrals and legal information from credible sources, please reach out by phone or chat.

    We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Be safe and take care.

    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!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      I currently live in Texas and my home life is terrible. My mom is so hard on me and I can see we will never have a decent life together. She's said all the hurtful things you can name in the book. I'm 16 years old and my best friends mom has agreed that she could watch me and support me until I'm 17 or 18. Do you think I may be able to do this and not be considered a run away?

      Comment


      • ccsmod10
        ccsmod10 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey 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 bit about your situation.

        It sounds like your mom does not treat you very well. You never deserve to be talked down to or brought down. It’s completely understandable that you don’t want to go through the verbal abuse anymore, you deserve to be loved and safe at home. We offer a conference calling service, between youth and their parents. If you ever wanted our help talking to your mom about how you're being treated at home, we're always here to make that call with you.

        Legally you are a minor and under your guardian’s supervision until you are 18 or are emancipated by a court of law. If you decide to leave to live with your friend’s mom before then, your mom could file a runaway report on you. Running away is not a crime, but it is a status offense. This means the police could detain you until they release you to the care of your mom. We have legal aid resources in our database. While we’re not law experts, we can try to find one in your area, there may be legal ways for you to be able to move out of your house and live with your friend. We’re here to try to brainstorm options with you.

        We hope our response is helpful. Also, talking to school counselors and teachers about what’s going on at home could provide you with great support. You are not alone in this. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. You are always welcome to call into our 24/7 crisis center, or use our chatting services via our website.

        Be safe, NRS

    • #4
      I feel as if im being emotionally abused at home and whether they like to admit it or not they have! i have so much proof and the rest of my three older sisters have agreed and have run away from home at my age for the same reason... Im 16 years old and im about to be 17 in feb. I have been planning to be living with my boyfriend (who is soon turning 1 and get a job and help him out as well as him helping me out from getting away from that toxic relationship.. my parents are moving pretty soon i have told them flat out that im not going and that im staying here in Texas. I know as soon as im gone they are going to report me missing or as a run away to the cops and i really wish they wouldnt because we both had an understanding that i would be doing whatever i believe to be right... what im afraid about is if i get caught with a cop that they are going to force me to go with my parents and to finish the move, and or possibly getting my boyfriend or friends who are just worried and are trying to help me out into trouble.. i am also afraid of telling the truth if cops ask my reasoning for leaving and possibly getting my parents into trouble i know what they have done is ********ed with the emotional abuse but i dont want to get them into trouble with it... im just so scared and worried its all so surreal because it all feels so fast but also so slow... please give me help or any advice ANYTHING will help thank you!

      Comment


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        Thanks for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline and sharing a little bit about what is going. It takes a lot of courage to reach out and especially in a time where you have a really tough and complex situation at home. We are sorry you are experiencing abuse, no one ever deserves to go through that. You do have the right to report the abuse to Child Help at 1-800-422-4453. You can either do it yourself or call into us directly and we can support you through it. It is hard to say the result of reporting, but if you call in you can ask what the process might look like.

        We aren’t legal experts, but we have general knowledge about running away. In most states, running away isn’t illegal, but what is called a status offense. You can’t get arrested for it but it will mostly likely go on your record until you are 18. The police will only know if you have runaway if your parents/guardians file a police report. We can’t say for sure how the police will respond, but we hear a lot that police will take potential places you might be and will actively search for you. If they come across you, they may return you home to your parents since you are a minor, but you are in a grey area since you are so close to 18. Sometimes we hear that if you are staying with someone who is safe, and have reason to be there then they may not make you go back. One thing we encourage youth at 17 is to reach out to your local non-emergency line number and ask to speak to someone who knows runaway laws and ask how they might respond. It is good to be aware that there is something called harboring, which is a person who knows you are a runaway and are not actively trying to return you or finding shelter for you, your guardians/or police can press charges against the people who are housing you, with something that is called harboring.

        We are here for you and will support you in anyway that we can. Please feel free to call into us directly as we can talk further about your situation and find resources that are best for you in your area. Stay strong and you are not alone in this! Our hotline ( 1-800-RUNAWAY) and chat are open 24/7.

    • #5
      If I still continue to go to school and get a job after i run away, will it still be considered a status offense?

      Comment


      • #6
        Reply:If I still continue to go to school....

        Hello,
        Thank you for writing to us here at the National Runaway Safeline.

        Running away is considered a status offense in most states as long as you remain in the police data base. While we are not experts on the law, someone under 18 that leaves home, the parent/guardian may file them as a runaway and they may be returned home. Also, those that a reported runaway stays with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. Anyone found to be assisting or aiding someone to run away may also find themselves at risk legally. For more specifics on the law, you might consider contacting the local non-emergency number for the police. You might also look for a legal aid center in the area. They may be able to answer any legal questions on the subject.
        We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (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.

        Be safe,
        NRS

        We hope this response was helpful! We’d love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to youth and families. Please click the link to fill out our survey: Your Opinion Matters to Us
        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!
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

        Comment


        • #7
          Hello, someone i know is going through a lot of mental problems at home. He is looking to move in with his dad (his parents are divorced). We are wondering if he can even if his mother doesn't allow, his dad said they never signed anything for custody except that his dad left because of my friends mom (his dad's ex wife) didn't think they were meant for each. So is he able to live with his dad if his mom doesn't like it? He constantly gets told he's fat and gets told he isn't good enough and sometimes that he should drop out of school and go to work. He can't take it no more. Can he move out and live with his dad without his mom liking or approving it? If so, how can he? Thanks for any help

          Comment


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi there,

            Thank you for contacting us at the National Runaway Safeline. It takes great courage to reach out for help and we are glad that you decided to reach out for help.


            We are sorry to hear he is being called name. This is not ok. It sounds like your friend has been thinking about leaving home to stay with mom. This situation is not complicated and we are not legal experts. If his dad is his primary guardian speaking generally if he is to leave home without his permission and a police report is filed the police can bring him back home and whoever he stays with could be charged with harboring a runaway. He can contact www.lawhelp.org for any legal aid resources.

            You can call us at our 24 hour confidential hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY(786-2929) and we would be happy to listen to you, explore his options and provide any resources.

            You are doing great by helping. We wish him the best.

            Best,

            NRS

        • #8
          I'm 16 and live on the coast of Texas, im being emotionally abused at home, and my mom and step dad are very controlling and not letting me do anything or see friends. I'm wondering if I can move in with my dad or with a friend at 16, because of my mom and step dad I'm depressed and have major anxiety, I think moving would help massively. Please let me know if I can get an attorney or some form of help and how to do it. Thanks
          ​​​​​​

          Comment


          • ccsmod16
            ccsmod16 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi,

            Thanks for contacting National Runaway Safeline. It seems like you are going through a difficult time right now and we commend you for reaching out for support. It must be difficult to live with someone who you feel is emotionally abusive and controlling. That must be really hard and we want you to know that we are here to support you. It may be beneficial to speak with both of your parents about you living with your father or with another person. At 16, you will need to have permission to not live with a parent or legal guardian by state law. This does not mean that you will necessarily be in any legal trouble should you choose to leave for safety reasons- as your health and wellness is most important – but, you would be at risk of having to return home to the parent responsible for your care if authorities are contacted.

            We know it can be difficult to speak with parents we feel do not treat us well and we would be more than willing to assist you if you should need it. We do have a conference call service here where we can call a parent with you and talk through a matter. We also have a message service where you could leave a message for a parent and we can call out to that parent for you to deliver it if you would want to open up a line of communication about something with some help. In regards to your depression and anxiety, mental illness is something that can be hard to deal with alone especially when you have things going on that are really bothering you. It may be beneficial to contact an agency called NAMI to speak with a professional who is trained to speak with and assist people dealing with something like you are right now. They can be reached via phone by calling 1800-950-NAMI or by visiting their website www.nami.org.

            As always, we are here to assist and should you need to talk further about things or discuss any options we can be reached at our 24/7 hotline 1800-RUNAWAY or you can chat with us, leave a forum post, or email us by visiting our website 1800runaway.org. We wish you the very best of luck.

        • #9
          I have a 16 year old pregnant girl living in my home. Her mom will not allow her to come home. What can I do? I can not afford for her to live with me.

          Comment


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you for reaching out! This sounds like a difficult situation, and it is admirable that you are helping out. If you cannot reach a compromise with her mother, then there may be shelter or transitional living options for her in your area. We would encourage her to call our toll-free 24/7 hotline where we can get a better idea of the situation and refer resources to her accordingly.

        • #10
          im 16 years old if i run away in the state of texas could i get arrested or what are the consequences of running away

          Comment


          • ccsmod6
            ccsmod6 commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. While we are not legal experts, we do have a great deal of experience working with runaways. It is our understanding that it is not illegal to run away. You will not be arrested for it and you will not go to jail for it. If you do run away, your parents are entitled to file a runaway report on you because you are still a minor. This would allow the police to notify your guardians and return you home should they encounter you. Additionally, your parents would have the option to press charges against whomever you were staying with for “harboring a runaway”. This is typically considered a misdemeanor offense. If you have any further questions about running away or would like to talk more about your situation, please don’t hesitate to call us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-786-2929 or chat us at 1800runaway.org.

            Take care,
            NRS

        • #11
          I'm 16 and pregnant. My life at home is horrible in ways I cannot say. I fear for my life and that of my baby. I've been hidding my pregnancy from my mom, but will start showing soon. My boyfriend and I want to keep the baby and his aunt has agreed to help if we do things legally and still finish school. She's the only one we trust and have told about the pregnancy. He's almost 17. Can we choose to leave home to go live with her and keep our baby safe?

          Comment


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi there, thanks for reaching out! It shows a lot of strength on your end for sure. You seem to be in a really tough situation with your pregnancy, fearing for yourself and your baby, and having to hide the pregnancy from everyone but your boyfriend's aunt.

            We are concerned you mentioned fearing for your life. If you feel you are being abused, Child Help (1-800-422-4453, childhelp.org) can better define abuse, help you get custody transferred to a sage adult, and help you report if you want to. We are confidential and anonymous when you call us, but if you like, we can help you make an abuse report. Again, that is totally your decision!

            For support in your pregnancy (emotional and medical support) you can reach out to Planned Parenthood (1-800-230-7526, plannedparentood.org) which can help you find a clinic for medical care near you, information, etc. Sexetc.com also has lots of good info on pregnancy, including how to talk to your parents. We also offer conference calling with parents if you would like some help in how to approach the topic with your mom.

            To answer your question about moving in with your boyfriend's aunt, since you are considered a minor at 16 (and he is at 17 too in most states), the easiest way to leave is with your mom's permission. We understand that may be very difficult. If there is abuse and cause for safety, Child Protective Services may see it fit for you to live elsewhere, but there is no telling for sure what actions they would take if notified, unfortunately. Again, we can support you through that process if you so choose.
            If you choose to leave without permission, your mom as your legal guardian could notify police and report you as a runaway; meaning if the police come into contact with you, they may take you back home.

            You seem to be trying to do what is best for you and your baby for sure. We are here to support you no matter what decisions you choose to make. We can also offer shelter resources, more pregnancy resources, and support, in addition to the services we mentioned above.

            Best of luck and reach out anytime by phone or live chat at the top of this page, We are 24/7: 1-800-786-2929.

        • #12
          I'm 15 and I'm not turning 16 until next April. My home life is awful and im afraid that one day I'm going to start getting physically abused. My family already emotionally and mentally abuses me. They don't let me go out with friends or even leave the house by myself. They yell at me for everything and constantly tell me my depression and anxiety is fake. I've had several suicide attempts and I self harm. My family grounded me when they found out I self-harmed. I'm also bisexual and genderfluid and I know that they would abuse me or kick me out if they found out. I want to go and stay with a friend but I don't know what will happen if the police find me. I can't stay here any longer and I need to know how I can leave.

          Comment


          • ccsmod7
            ccsmod7 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi, thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. We are sorry to hear about what has been happening at home. Everyone deserves to feel safe with their family. Most importantly, we want to make sure you are safe in general, so please call 911 if you are actively suicidal or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-372-8255 if you need less urgent support.

            It also sounds like you are going through a lot personally dealing with your depression, anxiety, and self harm, as well as hiding your gender and sexual orientation. Some other resources that may help you include NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, by calling 1-800-950-NAMI, texting NAMI to 741741, or going to www.nami.org. You can also reach out to the Trevor Project, which is an LGBTQ Youth Suicide Lifeline, at 1-866-488-7386 or www.thetrevorproject.org or the LGBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743.

            Finally, in terms of the abuse you describe and are scared will escalate, if you are interested in learning more about or making a child abuse report, a good resource is Child Help (the National Child Abuse Hotline) at 1-800-422-4453 or www.childhelp.org.

            Going back to your question, since you are a minor, you are supposed to live with your parents or legal guardians. If you do leave and stay with a friend, your parents could file a runaway report. This means that if the police find you, they will probably bring you home. We are not legal experts, so we can’t guarantee what would happen if you explain the abusive situation at home. However, you would not be arrested or have a criminal record for running away unless you commit another crime while you’re gone.

            Please reach out to us anytime if you have more questions, need more options, or want help forming a safe plan. We have a 24/7 confidential crisis line at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) and an online chat service at www.1800runaway.org. Best of luck with everything and stay safe.

        • #13
          Originally posted by Guest View Post
          im 16 years old if i run away in the state of texas could i get arrested or what are the consequences of running away
          I don’t wanna go alone. My home life is ok but my mom has mood swings and she often makes me depressed. I struggle with mental illness but my family thinks mental illness is an excuse and that it’s for petty people basically. I have no one to talk to in my family really. I wanna get emancipated but I doubt the court would let me. I’m trying to graduate early this year but I also just want to be free and away from it all. I’m tired of acting happy and like I’m fine
          Last edited by ccsmod8; 08-08-2019, 11:10 AM.

          Comment


          • ccsmod8
            ccsmod8 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello there –

            Thanks for reaching out to us here on our public forum. Hopefully by helping you or giving you the support that you need, there are other’s that are reading this thread and looking for answers can also be helped. It sounds like you’re going through a very rough time and sort of stuck in a circle of self-doubt. You are certainly entitled to your feelings as they pertain to your mental health.

            It’s great that you are thinking ahead and looking into what some options might be for you in terms of getting out of your home to be independent. What we know is that getting emancipated by the court is a process that does take a while and there might be some fees as well. There also needs to be proof that the youth is able to support him or herself on their own. Other requirements sometime indicate that they have had to have lived independently from their parents for a certain amount of time, wishes to be free from parental control, has an acceptable plan for independent living, and be able to manage their own financial affairs. So it doesn't look like there is going to be a fast track to getting emancipated or someone to send you paperwork because it does go through the court system and you will have to wait for a judge to see you and hear your case.

            Now we do offer a service that is basically a Conference Call where the parent/guardian, the youth, and us would be on the phone talking about what has been going on. This way there can be a mediator in between keeping things calm and productive. If you’d feel more comfortable with doing that, just know that it’s always available. It might be a great way to talk about what you are going through and where this feelings might be coming from or come to some agreement that you might need to have someone that you can reach out to for help to address your mental health (ie. a counselor or therapist). Something constructive so that it certainly opens the lines of communication, but that services is completely up to you.

            Only you know yourself when it’s time to leave home due to it being an unsafe situation and it sounds like you might some specific questions that you want to ask us or maybe find a place to vent about what you are feeling right now. It’s hard to talk to just anyone one about what has been going on. So please reach out to talk if you need some more support.

        • #14
          My son children has been knowing this young man for about four years and counting he is now 16 years of age and his mother has been putting him out for sometime now due to reasons. i don't ask any questions when I found out that he has been sleeping in my sons car in this hundred degree weather we stay in Texas. So, my heart was so heavy i allowed him to move in just because I would want someone to do my child that way. He's been wanting to go to school the mother enrolled him out of school he hasn't been going for most of this school year and she doesn't want to give me permission to enroll him. She said that i could get in trouble for allowing her son to stay with me and he is a minor but he refuses to go home and she has moved and don't want him knowing where she stay so he's here. and my son who is of age has been feeding him at one point sneaking him in the house to shower and just to get some air. I mean this is a child who turns there back and allow a child to sleep in a car that in your driveway What should I do

          Comment


          • ccsmod7
            ccsmod7 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi there, thanks for reaching out today for this young man. Sounds like he is going through so much with his mom and not having a place to go. We are so glad that he has you and your son as supports when he is lacking that at home.

            We are not legal experts but we can speak generally. It could be seen as neglect by child protective services for the mom to put him out like that, so one option is reporting the abuse/neglect. The Texas abuse hotline number is 800-252-5400 if you are interested in reporting the mom.

            As for school, there is a national law that states all homeless youth have a right to their education, and can enroll as a homeless minor. To get connected to the Texas homeless education liaison by calling the National Center for Homeless Education Helpline: 1-800-308-2145.

            You might give him our information if he would like to call or chat us: 1-800-RUNAWAY; www.1800runaway.org. We can look to see if there are local homeless youth shelters in the area he could go to. We also could talk through his situation, provide support, and brainstorm his options with him. Thank you so much for being such a great advocate for him.

            Best,

            NRS
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