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Is this against the law?

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  • Is this against the law?

    I'm 14 years old & I live in California, and I want to runaway to New York. I don't know anyone who lives there, except for maybe 3 people I met online (though I'm only really close to one of them). I've wanted to go to NY for a long time, and no one here understands why. That's just where my heart is, and I know it's where I belong. I hate it here, and most of the time I feel suffocated or trapped because I'm on the wrong side of the country. I have enough money saved up to get a plane ticket to NY, pay for food/clothes/a place to stay, but I don't know how long that would last. And since I'm only 14 I don't know if I'll be able to get a job. My friend in NY said he would let me stay with him, but he's 15, lives with his parents, and I doubt they'd let me live with them. Here in Oregon, I have over a 4.0 gpa, I'm really involved, and I'm just about postive that I'd get scholarships for many colleges. I know that once I graduate, I can move to NY, but I can't wait that long. But, I also don't want to leave this all behind, because I know that if I runaway, I'll probably drop out of school. So should I wait to save up more money, or wait until I graduate, or what? And is this even legal?

  • #2
    Re: Is this against the law?

    Hello,

    Nothing that you stated was really "against the law", however, you seem to know the laws completely.

    It is not illegal to runaway but it is considered a "status offense". That basically means that you wil be reported to local law enforcement as a person that is missing from home. You woudln't be classified as a criminal. In any case, you already know how difficult it would be and what might happen if you were to leave your support system at home. But it is illegal to harbor runaways. Anyone that you live with is in danger of having charges against them for housing you.

    We can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to feel like you belong somewhere else when you are "stuck" in one place. Aside from feeling frustrated and trapped, are there other things at home that are a little challenging? How's life at home or with friends?

    It can be difficult to go on your own (especially at 14) to try and get a job. There aren't many agencies that can legally hire people under 16. It's good that you can see how hard it is because that means that you have thought this through well enough.

    If you feel like grades/school can be your ticket out of CA, that seems like the safest and best way to get something that will keep you happy. When you are in college, you are able to make those decisions of where you want to live, study, work, etc.

    You have a good head on your shoulders and no matter what decision you make, you will probably make the right one that will keep you safe, even at the price of feeling trapped or suffocated.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Best of luck.

    You are welcome to call in at 1800RUNAWAY 24/7 so we can talk about this issue a bit further.

    Thanks.
    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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