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Can I leave my home at 16 without my parents' consent?

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  • I’m 16 I live in Colorado I struggle and fight a lot with my mom and step dad. I have issues in the past with a abuse and I feel like my behavior has a lot to do with my past. I hate living in this house I always get told that I have have to do stuff in order to live in this house. With everything going on with COVID-19 I haven’t been able to see my friends or see anyone because my mom just had a baby. I feel trapped I feel like I’m constantly locked up in my house which makes my depression worse. I decided to sneak out and have fun with my friends without my mom knowing she found out and now I might be getting kicked out for good this time. I know that for me being 16 parents cannot kick their child out if they’re a minor it’s called child abandonment and it’s a crime. I’m scared I don’t want to live with my dad he has put his hands on me abused my mentally and physically. Cops were involved and court was as well but since I’m old enough to make the decision which parent I could stay with so I chose my mom but see the problem living here is I make mistakes I’m a teenager I want to have fun and see my friends and when I don’t get to I’ll sneak out and do it on my own time but now my mom and step dad are trying to make a decision if I’m being kicked out or not I’m scared I can’t live with my dad because of the past so where do I go what should I do in this situation of being kicked out and dealing with an abusive father? I mean is emancipation a chose for me?

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,
      Thank you for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are struggling with a lot right now, and we want you to know that you are not alone. It is understandable to feel isolated and depressed with everything going on with COVID. If you need someone to talk to we are always here. Also if you need some mental health resources you can contact NAMI (national alliance for mental illnesses). They can be reached at 1800-950-NAMI.
      Also you are correct if your parents were to kick you out that would be considered neglect. You can file a report by calling Child help at : 1800-422-4453. You can also report this to your local police. We know you mentioned not wanting to live with your dad, if courts were involved last time they may be involved again. You can also talk to Child help about that because it is unlikely you would be sent to an abusive home if courts were stopping it last time.
      We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to explore more options please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide support. Best of luck!
      NRS

  • hello, i am 16 years old and i really want to leave my home to get away from my family. we are always in arguments and somehow it’s always my fault. i am the only one that gets in trouble despite trying to stick up to myself but always end up being told, “i should have been the bigger person and walked away.” im physically and mentally exhausted from living with them and i want to leave. what can i do? ive tried multiple times to leave when my mom specifically told me to get out of the house. i did get kicked out of the house at least 2 to 3 times. they also manipulate the situation to make me seem like the bad person. i am tired of all of it. please help me

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi,
      Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. We are sorry to hear that things at home have been so difficult. We commend you for reaching out for help.

      It sounds like your life at home has been really tough for a while. You don’t seem to be getting the respect and understanding from your family that you deserve, and sometimes your Mom even kicks you out of the house. It is important you know that you do not deserve to be kicked out of your own home, and you should feel like you are supported and loved when you are there. We understand that you are thinking pretty seriously about running away because of the situation with your family.

      It is important when thinking about running away to consider where you might go, how you might get there, and what you might do once there. Some options include going to a nearby friend or family member’s, going to a shelter, or going to a temporary living program—a place where young people who have faced difficulties in the home go for extended stays. It is also important to consider that while running away is not illegal, it is considered a status offense, which basically just means it is something you cannot do as a minor. But if you do it, you will not be arrested, nor will anything go on your record. Police, if contacted by your parent(s), can make a good faith effort to find you and get you back home. This said, it can help to procure consent from your parent(s) to go somewhere, as this leaves the police out of it. If you want to talk more about different places you might go and how to get there, we are always here to talk. You can contact us at 1-800-RUN-AWAY or instant message us at 1800runaway.org.

      If you are interested in talking further with your Mom, and maybe even getting consent to leave for some time, we also have an amazing conference call service at NRS. You can call us at any time to initiate. Basically, it’s us mediating a conversation between you and your parent(s). We can help you understand and express your needs to your parent(s) and create a safe conversation. It sounds like you get blamed and demeaned a lot. This may be happening because there is a lack of healthy communication between you and your Mom. We would love to help you with this.

      If you ever want to reach out to us to talk more about these options, please do. We can help you find a place to go, or just talk through what is going on at home. We are here 24/7 to listen and to help. We wish you the best of luck moving forward. Stay safe and stay strong.

      Sincerely,
      NRS

    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,
      Thank you for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are going through a really difficult situation, and we want you to know that you are not alone.
      It is understandable the way you are feeling, to constantly be in arguments can be extremely exhausting. It is hard to walk away and not be able to stick up for yourself, so sorry you are going through that. We know you mentioned wanting to leave home, we are not legal experts but we do have some information. If you were to leave home without permission your legal guardian could file a runaway report. If the police were to find you they most likely would bring you back home. Also because you are a minor getting kicked out of your home is considered neglect. You can make a report by calling Child help at 1800-422-4453. Or you can contact your local police department and make a report.
      We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any questions or would like to explore more options please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide support. Best of luck!
      NRS

  • I’m 16 I’ll be 17 the end up august in South Carolina can I leave without my moms consent I need to leave she’s verbally mean and I can’t stand it anymore my dad recently left so
    im dealing with that to I have a perfectly safe home to go to ive lives there once already for 2 months but my mom dosent want me to go again can I or do I have to wait till I’m 17

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for taking the time to write us here at NRS. It is not okay for your mom to be mean or make you feel uncomfortable at home. You deserve to be treated with respect, and it is understandable you would want to leave an environment where that is not happening.

      While we are not legal experts, we can speak generally on leaving home as a minor. Because your mom is your legal guardian until you turn 18, you would need her permission to leave home. If you leave without permission, she can report you as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means your mom can ask police to return you home if she knows where you are staying. Now, there is not a universal way that police handle runaway reports. In some cases police are more lenient if you leave at 17 and might not force you home. You can reach out to the non-emergency line for your local police department to speak with an officer about the situation. Some helpful questions to ask would be if they would even take a runaway report for someone who is 17 and if they would force you back home.

      An exception to this would be if you were emancipated. Emancipation can be a lengthy and difficult process, but it would having the rights and responsibilities of a legal adult. This would include the legal freedom to choose where you live. The process is started by filing a petition in court and a judge would then assess if emancipation is in your best interest. The requirements include being able to demonstrate you can live independently and financially support yourself. If you would like to pursue this option further, we can connect you with legal aid resources in your state.

      We truly want to be a support for you as you decide on your next steps. We are available 24/7 to listen and help as much as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out again by phone or chat if you would like to talk more in-depth about your situation and explore your options. You can contact us by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at www.1800runaway.org.

      Good luck,
      NRS

  • I am 16 years old I have a job and I am able to take care of myself and I can prove that can I move in with my boyfriend and rent a apartment,I just don’t want the law to send me home I did research and it said they can’t since I’m not in any danger is this true

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      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. We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your parents (or whoever your guardian is) 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 home, even if you are in a safe environment. If you would like to verify your local police department's policy regarding runaways you may want to reach out to their non-emergency line by dialing 311 on your phone.

      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,
      NRS

      We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to support youth and families. Please click the link below to fill out our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

  • Can I leave my home and live somewhere else without going to court I live in Wisconsin but I plan on moving to South Carolina and could I rent my own place if I were to move out and find a job without having to go back to my grandparents place I'm living with my grandparents who have custody of me or could I just leave

    Comment


    • ccsmod0
      ccsmod0 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,
      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 seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
      The easiest way to leave home is with your parents' permission. We understand that might be challenging, however, maybe there’s another family member, relative, or a family friend who could help to communicate how you’re feeling to your parents. The second way is through Child Protective Services if safety is a concern. Lastly, you can also look into emancipation options. In most states you need to be at least 16 to be considered and demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and independently. Emancipation often can be a lengthy process and may even cost some money for court fees. We would be happy to look into legal resources if that’s something you are considering.
      Something else to consider is that you will not be allowed to rent an apartment without a co-signer if you are under the age of 18, as that is generally the law.
      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button). If you would like to look into further emotional support options, you can text with a crisis worker at the National Alliance on Mental Illness 24/7 by texting "NAMI" to 741741.
      If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
      Be safe,
      NRS

  • I am 16 what will happen if I leave state without parent consent

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at NRS. While we are not legal experts, we can speak generally on this. If you leave home without permission from your parents, they can report you as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but is a status offense. This means your parents can ask for police assistance to have you returned home if found. Your name would be flagged in a police database, so if you come into contact with law enforcement in any state you would be identified as a runaway. Your parents can also suggest to police people you may be staying and places you might have gone. Whoever you stay with could be at risk of being charged with a misdemeanor called harboring a runaway.

      We hope this information is useful. If you would like to talk more about your situation and explore your possible options, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. We are available 24/7 for immediate support by phone at 1-800-786-2929 and through live chat services at 1800runaway.org.

      Stay safe and good luck,
      NRS

  • Hi I'm a 16 year old in Oregon and my birthday is on the 23 but I want to go see a friend that is my age and is a good person and my mom said no can my mom send me to jail if I do go to see the friend?

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      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. We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home 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 (like smoking or gambling). If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned home but there wouldn't be any formal charges.

      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,
      NRS

      We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to support youth and families. Please click the link below to fill out our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

  • Hello I’m 15 about to turn 16 in September. I can’t stand my dad he’s a single parent but I get blamed for everything. I don’t get to do anything I go to school come straight home and he even works in school. I never get to go out with friends. Go to a school dance or anything. I get blamed for everything and my dad and I are always fighting. I have ran away once and he found me and brought me home. I don’t want to live with him no more. I can’t this is living hell. Help me please.

    Comment


    • Hi there,
      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 seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by forum to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
      If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
      Be safe,
      NRS
      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)
      https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

      Comment


      • Hi, I’m chase that’s my chosen name at least..I am 15 years old and I turn 16 in October. I live in Ontario, Canada and I have always hated it at home to the point I would do anything to avoid going home right away or being around my parents. I have next to no privacy and when I make money I don’t want my family to know about I have to hide it. My family is highly transphobic and they refuse to call me by my chosen name and use he/him pronouns and no matter how many times I have asked for a haircut they either ignore me or say “we will think about it” then don’t answer me and the next time I bring it up they act like I never talked about it. I really don’t like being at home because of many reasons but I turn 16 in just under two months. Can I run away from my parents home to live with a friend until I get an apartment?

        Comment


        • ccsmod4
          ccsmod4 commented
          Editing a comment
          Hi there Chase,
          Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS).

          We appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on.

          We see that you are in Canada and we are only familiar with the runaway laws in the U.S. which say someone under 18 that leaves home, the parent/guardian may file them as a runaway and they may be returned home. Also, those that a reported runaway stays with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. Anyone found to be assisting or aiding someone to run away may also find themselves at risk legally.
          We are not legal experts so for more specifics on the law, you might consider contacting the non-emergency number for your local police. You might also look for a legal aid center in the area. They may be able to answer any legal questions on the subject.

          We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
          Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).

          Be safe,
          NRS
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