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17 year old in MN

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  • 17 year old in MN

    17 yr old classmate of my kiddo is in a very bad home situation, unsafe in many ways & couldn't call a hotline even if I could convince him to do that, because he has no privacy in his home situation - he would be overheard talking. He doesn't even have his own room. He has to sleep on a pull out couch with his older brother. There is drug abuse going on in the home [mother and older brother smoke pot - not sure if other things are going on], there has been violence between him & the older brother, their 1 bedroom trailer house has hole in the roof that landlord won't fix...etc. etc. etc.

    I had a really messed up home when I was a teen, so I have shared a lot of that with him, so he knows I really do know what it's like. I am trying to get him to feel like he can talk [via text] to me, but there's still a lot I don't know about what does or doesn't happen in his home.

    We've had him over to our place one time [that's when I was able to mention things about my childhood] and he has opened up a lot more to me since that. Unfortunately, the two other times we invited him, his mom wouldn't let him come over because she got mad at him about something. I wondered what would happen if he gets to a point where he feels he has to leave without permission? Would the police pursue him? Would my family get into trouble if we let him stay with us?

    We have plenty of room & are financially secure, so we would help him if he needed help without needing reimbursement; it sounds like his mom gets welfare, from what he's said, and our state has very good insurance for low income people, so he's probably got that for health insurance. He just needs a safe place, where he can be & feel safe and comfortable. I know it's less than a year till he's 18, but from what my kiddo says, he has self-harmed and has talked about suicide.

    I'm afraid for him, if he were to leave home without permission and then had to go back; the mom is verbally abusive, from what he has told me. He doesn't use that term, but he's mentioned her saying some things that I am confident would be considered abusive. I don't know if she is also physically abusive or not. The dad lives in CO, so he's not around to help.

    All I've been able to find on the MN State Govt web site is that there is no emancipation of minor statute for MN, but a minor can be emancipated with parental consent or by court order.

  • #2
    Thank you for contacting NRS! It sounds like you are really worried about one of your child’s friends and want to make sure that he is safe and taken care of. From what you shared, home has been a stressful and not safe environment for the youth. Sharing your past to connect to him is really thoughtful and caring of you.
    We are not legal experts by any means, but from what we know leaving home as a minor can be difficult. Emancipation is possible but it can be a difficult process. Courts usually want to see that the individual petitioning for emancipation is financially independent and living on their own. If the youth were to leave home without permission, his mom does have the right to file a runaway report. Running away is not illegal, but if the police knew where he was they could return you home. There is also a possibility that his mom could charge you with harboring a runaway which is usually a misdemeanor.
    It sounds like you would be able to take in this youth in and provide a supportive and safe home for him. You seem to be a really great advocate for him. If you felt comfortable doing so, you could try to talk with him and his mom about the possibility of the youth moving in with you. If she gave permission he would be able to move without police intervening. Since you mentioned that you suspected abuse you could file a child abuse report. The National Child Abuse Hotline can help give information and start that process with you at 1-800-422-4453. If the youth is able to talk to a guidance counselor at school they may be able to offer a support or report any abuse that is going on.
    If you had any other questions or wanted to discuss options further, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-786-2929.
    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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