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My friend is 16, home trouble, and needs a safer place.

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  • My friend is 16, home trouble, and needs a safer place.

    So my friend is 16, almost 17 in 48 days (and counting) and in Texas they usually ignore runaways at 17. The problem with this is that her parents are crazy and manipulative. They don't know me but I know them, only because we met over a year ago in a waiting room and I witnessed her step-mother grilling her with illogical and straight up rude "lectures." (us going to the same school later is just a happy coincidence) They have been mentally abusing my friend to the point where while she was at school she looked over her shoulder every few moments because she was scared her parents were behind her. I have seen bruises on her a couple of times. They don't allow her to have friends, and that's why they don't really know me. I live down the street from her. One day she got scared of walking home beside me and talking with me because she thinks her parents are going to drive down the street and see me with her and be angry. She's walked on the other side of the street ever since, and that was a few months ago.
    Now they are threatening to kick her out, and it's happening a lot more frequently lately. Originally they said it would be on her birthday, but my friend is scared they're going to move that date up. But what we are both worried about is that her parents seem to twist their words often. So I'm worried about if she gets kicked out then comes to my place, and then my dad gets charged for harboring a runaway.
    My dad is kind of aware of how.. weird, for lack of a better word, her parents are. I'm talking to him soon about the situation. But we are trying to stall it (like if her parents kick her out, she would go to her church) until her birthday.
    I want to help my friend out of this bad position, but I also don't want any legal trouble with my dad or myself.

  • #2
    Re: My friend is 16, home trouble, and needs a safer place.

    Hi there,

    Thank you for posting to our online forum. It sounds like your friend is under a lot of stress with her parents threatening to throw her out of the house. It’s great that she has you to turn to for support and that she has the option of staying at her church as an alternative too.
    We’re not legal experts here, but we can talk about your concerns in general terms.

    First of all, if indeed your friend can leave home at 17 where you live, her parents are still responsible for her well-being until she is a legal adult, age 18. This means that her parents are required to provide for her a safe place to live, make sure she has food, goes to school, etc. If they don’t provide her with these things, your friend has the option to have Child Protective Services involved so they can ensure that she is taken care of properly. If you want to check into this more, you might want to reach out to an organization called Child Help USA: 1-800-422-4453. They might be able to provide more details about what her parents are obligated to provide her with and what steps she can take if they aren’t holding up their end.

    Second, if her parents don’t allow her to stay in their home, she’s not a runaway. If they throw her out and then ask her to come back and she refuses, then she might be considered a runaway. If she’s not reported as a runaway, then it’s unlikely that your dad would be charged with harboring. If you want to be sure how the police in your area handle runaway cases, it may be good to just call your police nonemergency line to get some facts. It might be good to double check the age she can leave her home by choice as it can vary by county and even by police district. We can also help your friend make that call if you or her call our hotline.

    Lastly, if you and your dad are worried about harboring charges, we can also look into youth shelters where your friend could stay if she gets thrown out or leaves home by choice. Just give us a call or chat with us and we can look into those resources.

    We hope this information is useful and that you or your friend contact us directly to discuss the situation in more detail.

    Best of luck,
    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!


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