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Mother of a 16 year old runaway

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  • Mother of a 16 year old runaway

    I have a 16 year old son that has ran away from home. We have since learned that his father talked him in to it and has been hiding him. I have full custody the father only has supervised and it says in the paperwork that being alone with the kids can be harmful to the physical and mental well-being of the children. The father has admitted to people that he knows exactly where our son is at but it's no one else's business. the sheriff's department has been to his home and he has denied them access to going in and told them they will have to get a warrant. The sheriff's department really hasn't done anything since then. It was my understanding harboring a runaway was a crime. I desperately need advice and how to handle the situation and have it taken care of properly by the authorities. Every time I talk to a officer I get told something completely different. It's like they make there own laws as they go.

  • #2
    Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. We are here to listen and help as best as we can. It sounds like you are going through a really tough time not having your youth home and being unsure of their safety. They are lucky to have someone that cares so much about them.

    One of the first options that can be important to explore is contacting your local law enforcement to file a runaway report. We are not legal experts here, but typically it is not illegal to runaway or leave home without permission. However, if a runaway report is filed, police that encounter a runaway youth will work to return them home when found. Keep in mind though, that the efforts made to search for runaway youth can vary from state to state or even within districts. Often it is up to the parents to advocate for themselves and keep track of the steps taken to find their youth. We're sorry to hear you have had difficulty getting the help from law enforcement that you are seeking.

    If you have a way to communicate with your child either email, text, phone, or social media you can inform them that we are offer confidential 24/7 support. We can try to locate some resources that could be of assistance, wherever they are located, to help keep them safe. If you do not have contact with your child, we also offer a message service where parents can call us to leave a message for their child. If the youth calls in, we can deliver this message. We also take messages from youth to their parents that we deliver as well. This can be a great option for you to express yourself in a safe, productive, and non-confrontational way. If you choose to utilize our message service, we encourage you to spread the word to anyone you think may be in contact with your child to increase the chances of your message being retrieved.

    Unfortunately we do not have a service that assists with locating youth, but there are agencies that offer to help in this way. One option is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which can be reached at 1-800-843-5678 or this link You can also try Child Find at 1800-426-5678 or at this link During a time like this, it can be important to remember your own self-care. Taking care of yourself and feeling heard can make an overwhelming situation more manageable. You can always call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY to talk or find additional resources.
    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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