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Can police force me to go home?

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  • Can police force me to go home?

    Im 15 and I live in washington state and plan on running away. I know as a rule, shelters must notify parents that their child is there. If my parents send a police to come get me, do they have the right to force me home? The shelters is in a different city/county, will my police have jurisdiction to bring me home then?
    Thank you

  • #2
    Hey there,

    Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little bit about what’s been going on, we know that it takes a lot of courage. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do. Different shelters have different policies regarding parental notification and/or consent and if you have a specific shelter in mind, it may be a good idea to contact them directly to verify their policies regarding parental communication.

    We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your parents can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. Running away is a status offense; this means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned to your parents, regardless of how far you are from home. If there is any abuse going on at home or it is an unsafe environment, the police may let you stay where you are but would be obligated to contact child protective services to start an investigation.

    If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

    Stay safe,
    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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