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leaving home at 17 in Michigan

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  • leaving home at 17 in Michigan

    Im 17 right now, 18 in 9 months. My parents are struggling to take care of my family mostly due to laziness and being selfish. Our life situation makes it hard for me to do things i need/want to do, from hanging out with friends to trying to work with people to help me get into and pay for college. I want to know If I can legally leave home and live in a shelter or with a friend if I choose to? Or if I can at least leave the house without legal repercussions. I'm trying to avoid more family drama but i want to put myself first sometimes and be a normal kid. im on my way to being an adult. I would like to at least go on walks and be with my friends sometimes. My parents make me feel selfish for wanting to leave and spend time with other people outside of school. If I decide to do what I want despite their feelings, can they use the law against me or to make me stay/come "home"?

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thanks for taking the time to write us here at NRS. It can certainly be stressful at home when the adults in the household are not supportive. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you with figuring out your next steps in this difficult situation. Asking for help was really responsible and smart of you. We are sorry to hear things are so unstable at home. You deserve to live somewhere that makes you feel at ease and relaxed.

    Generally speaking, if you leave home without permission your parents can report you as a runaway. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means that in some cases your parents could have you returned home by the police. However, Michigan's protocol is different. At 17 most Michigan police departments do not take runaway reports. This means police would not return you home if you chose to live somewhere else that was safe. You would not yet be considered a legal adult though so you might still need parental permission to stay long term at most shelters.

    It would be helpful to reach out to trusted adults in your life like friend's parents, family members, or a counselor at school to talk more about how you would like to deal with this situation moving forward. These could be some potential safe places for you to stay and possibly someone who can help you communicate your issues with your parents and advocate for your needs.

    We truly want to be a support for you as you navigate this challenging situation. If you would like to talk more about your next steps, please do not hesitate to reach out by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at

    We wish you the best,
    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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