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16, in North Carolina

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  • 16, in North Carolina

    I'm 16 and my family life is terrible. My dad is always yelling and can be violent. He can be great one day and then the next not for absolutely no reason. He favors the youngest like crazy. I want to know if it is legal for me to move out and move in with a friend, if I can prove that I am safe and taken care of...will the police send me back? If I leave and am forced to come back, my dad will never let me hear the end of it...

  • #2
    RE: 16, in North Carolina

    Thanks for reaching out to us during this difficult time. It sounds like things at home have been very stressful, it’s definitely not fair that you are walking on eggshells around your father. It also sounds like you have a safe place to go and live with your friend. Just to let you know, we are not legal experts and cannot give legal advice. What we do know is this, it is not against the law for you to run away from home. However, anyone you would be caught staying with could possibly be charged with ‘harboring a runaway.’ It might be a good idea to check with your friend if they are willing to take this risk for you.
    The police do have the right to force you to return home, unless it is unsafe. If it is unsafe, they may open a case with child protective services to see if there is any abuse or neglect in the home. Since you are 16, one of the few ways to legally leave the home is to research emancipation. If you feel comfortable calling us, we would be more than happy to help find you some resources in your area. We wish you the best of luck, please 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!


    • #3
      So I’m the middle child I have a great place to go to but my mom has a new bf and he is putting things in her head and it’s causing problems, she just lost her job and she’s getting back into drinking and I hate it she’s super mean and overreacts. I need to find a way to move out at 16 but I have no money to get emancipated I need advice


      • ccsmod7
        ccsmod7 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for reaching out to NRS! From what you have shared it sounds like you are in a really tough situation, but you are trying your best to take care of yourself. Leaving home can be a difficult decision, but you know what is best for your safety and well-being. You deserve a safe place to stay where you feel wanted and supported.

        Like you mentioned, emancipation can be a very expensive and long process and would require you to prove that you can support yourself. Something to consider is that if you were to leave home without permission to go to the safe place you mentioned, your mom does have the option of filing a runaway report. If she does there is a possibility you could be returned home if found by the police. However, if you have a safe place to go and your mom’s permission then you could leave home without police getting involved. Support systems are really helpful during stressful situations. You could try reaching out to friends, family members, and possibly a teacher or guidance counselor you feel comfortable with. Getting a job or joining an after-school activity could help you stay away from the house more during the day until you decide on a plan. If there is another adult who your mom trusts, you could reach out to them to talk to your mom about how the way she treats you makes you feel. If you need someone to talk or think your mom would be open to counseling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration may be a helpful resource. Their website is and phone number is 1-877-726-4727. You can always call or chat with us to explore more options or if you just need someone to talk to. Our website is and phone number is 1-800-786-2929.

        Thanks again for sharing your situation with us. We are confidential and here 24/7 to support you and be a listening ear. Best of luck!

    • #4
      So I’m 14 and I want to move when I’m 16 I want to move out a friend been telling me I can move with a friend and my mom can’t stop me and my mom is stressing me out mentally and I can’t focus on school or anything and I’m tried unfair


      • ccsmod1
        ccsmod1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there,

        Thanks so much for contacting us, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and share your story. It must be really hard to live in a home where you're stressed out so often. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do.

        We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home before you are a legal adult (at age 1 your mom 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 mom.

        It sounds like your relationship with your mom is causing you to lose focus on other aspects of your life, which sounds really frustrating. It could be a good idea to work with a local family counselor or have a conversation mediated by a school counselor/social worker, trusted friend, or family member to help clear the air. If you'd like, you can also call us directly and we can conduct a conference call with your mother so you have a safe environment where you can express yourself.

        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,

    • #5
      Hi, I just turned 17 i live in hialeah, fl and i was wondering what would happen if I ran away, i really don’t feel safe at home. I have gotten verbally abused and I’m scared of asking my mom and her husband a Simple question without them blowing up. Today I had an incident My stepdad slapped me across the face and even thought it wasn’t hard and didn’t leave a mark it still hurt a little and when my mom went to complain he blew up saying he’s cutting me out and telling my mom I’m such a good actress for making everything up and that i cry for everything. I’m really scared I’m shaking and my legs are weak. I don’t know what to do I just want out. If I ask to stay with a family member then they’ll say no. I don’t know scar my options are but I need to leave this house preferably in a way nobody gets in trouble


      • ccsmod12
        ccsmod12 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi, and 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 little bit about what’s going on. It sounds like things at home have been difficult for you and possibly abusive. We’re sorry you’re going through this. No one deserves to be hurt in any way.

        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.

        When harm or abuse happen at home, you have the right to report it. If you feel like reporting is an option you want to explore, you may find this website helpful: Child Help USA (1-800-422-4453) is an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. We can also help you to file a report if that’s the route you are considering. You can also reach out to someone at your school like a trusted teacher our counselor about what you’re going through.

        You asked what would happen if you ran away. While we are not experts on the law, we can tell you that in Florida, the age that someone can leave home without parental permission is 18. If you leave home prior to that, your parents could file a runaway report. A runaway report is a status offense, so not a misdemeanor or felony or anything that would go on your record. If found, the police would either tell you to return home or they may bring you home.

        If you'd like to talk in more detail about your situation or have any questions please call 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or chat with us ( We’re here to listen and here to help in whatever way we can. We hope to hear from you soon. Best, NRS

    • #6
      I am 17 years old and my parents are forcing me to turn in my boyfriend to the polices since his is older then 18, but I don’t want to. My dad is always yelling at me and cursing at me and he has already tired to hit me before and I’m just so scared that he gets violent with me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to turn in my boyfriend but if I don’t my dad will harm me, I’m so scared of him. Can I just run away. I have a safe place to go to and I will be turning 18 in January.


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for reaching out. 18 years old is generally the age that an individual may leave home without permission from their parent or legal guardian. We are not legal experts here but we can speak in general terms. If you are under 18 and leave home without permission, your parent/guardian may file a runaway report with the police. What actions the police take once you are filed as a runaway can vary a lot from state to state and even city to city so we cannot predict exactly what would happen in your case. Generally speaking, if you encounter a police officer while reported as a runaway, you will likely be returned home. However, in that case there may be services (family counseling, etc.) available to you as a youth in crisis/runaway but again, police procedures related to offering those services can be different based on your location or the details of your situation. Another thing to consider is that while running away is not a crime, a legal adult who allows you to stay with them may be putting themselves at risk for being charged with harboring a runaway. One way to find out the laws in your area is to call your local police and ask what their policies are regarding runaway youth.
        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. You may also be able to report any mistreatment to CPS. Child Help USA 1-800-422-4453 is an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. It may also be a good place to explore options for staying with another family member or someone you trust as far as transferring custody.
        Often, having a safe space to share how you’re feeling may bring a variety of solutions previously not thought of. You are not alone in this. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. If you’d like additional support or resources please call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY 24 hours, 7 days a week or chat with us online by going to
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