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Leaving home at 16 in Texas

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  • #31
    I live in the eastern side of Texas and i turn 16 tomorrow. I talked to my mom about me moving to live with her because my dad is always yelling at me and I get depressed and have anxiety. I talked to my dad and he won't let me leave even when i want to take him to court to change who my legal guardian is. He says he wouldn't and would refuse to pay child support. My mom doesn't want to take me because she said it would be a form of kidnapping. I don't know what to do and this is stressing me out with school and my grades.


    • ccsmod16
      ccsmod16 commented
      Editing a comment

      Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline – we are here to help and listen.

      We’re sorry to hear that your dad yells at you, you do not deserve to be treated in that way.

      You mentioned wanting to leave home but being concerned about possible consequences. While we are not legal experts we can speak generally on this. Leaving home without permission from your parents as a minor is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means your dad can report you as a runaway to the police. Again, you would not be arrested or charged with a crime because of this. It does mean your dad can ask police to return you home if he knows where you are staying.

      One way you could leave home would be to leave with permission from your dad. We want to clarify that while your dad can give consent to you leaving, he can also change his mind. We understand talking to parents about leaving home can be difficult. Maybe this conversation can be had with both parents if you are hoping to stay with mom.

      Another way you may be able to live somewhere else is through a child abuse report, via the child abuse hotline (1-800-422-4453). Normally investigations are taken when there is strong evidence of physical abuse or neglect, however this may also depend on who takes the call. Any hotline worker at ChildHelp should be able to take your report and let you know what actions they can take. One of our own hotline workers can also help you file an abuse report.

      If you’d like to discuss these options further, we would be happy to talk to you via our 24/7 hotline (1-800-786-2929) or through our chat feature:

      Best of luck,

      National Runaway Safe Line

  • #32
    Hello. I’m 16 and I want to run away from home. My parents have been emotionally and mentally abusing me since I was at the age of 12. I used to self harm but I have been clean since April 1st, but I still have to deal with the issues they’ve caused me every day. My mom has threatened me by saying I am allowed to live with friends if I don’t like it here (over text) but I feel as if I ask them to leave they won’t let me, so I want to run away.

    My main question is if you have any advice for how I can travel from texas to new york where my boyfriend currently lives. He said his family has no problems with taking care of me for however long needed. The only problem is I don’t know how to get there. I have a drivers permit (not a license) but I am not experienced enough to actually drive on the road with other people. I have a debit card with around $120, I have no current source of income either. I thought about having a friend take me to the airport and fly out there but I do not know if that will work or not.
    So do you have any advice or suggestions for how I am supposed to travel?


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline.

      We are always here to listen and help out in any way that we can. It is unfortunate to hear that you are experiencing mental abuse at your home and it is causing you to want to runaway. We can offer you support to handle this situation. Our priority is always your safety. You mentioned that you have previously engaged in self-harm. This has got to be really tough. In some cases, it can be helpful to talk through these thoughts with someone. The National Suicide Hotline is available 24/7, just like us, but they have trained counselors that are there to talk through anything that you are thinking or feeling. If you’d like some additional support, an organization that may be helpful is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). You can contact them by calling 1-800-950-NAMI or you can text them by sending NAMI to 741741.

      In addition, we are here to offer you support on your decision to run away. It is important to consider logistics and finances before getting on a flight across the country to move in with your boyfriend. Questions to ask yourself may include: who will drive you to the airport and pick you up once you land in New York? Will your boyfriend’s parents allow you to live with him for a long period of time? How will you afford to live in New York once you arrive there? Please note that we are not legal experts. Because you are 16, some airlines will allow you to fly on an airplane alone. However, you are technically still a minor and this will create limitations for you once you are off of the plane.

      As a minor, you are required to live with a legally responsible adult. If you do choose to run away then your parents have the right to file a runaway report with the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means that if the police find you, then they will have to bring you back home. It is important to understand that if you are filed as a runaway anyone you stay with could potentially be charged for harboring a runaway. If your boyfriend is over the age of eighteen, then he could get into trouble for this.

      Again, we are really glad that you reached out to us today, it is not easy to ask for help in situations like this. If you would like to talk more about what is going on at home and discuss options, please reach out to us on our 24-hour hotline or chat. We are here to listen and help with any concerns.

      Stay safe,
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