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  • Leaving at 17

    Hi so I am 17 turning 18 in 3 months in Virginia. I know it's jot illigal to run away but what would happen if I just left 2 or 3 months before I turned 18? When I turn 18 in 3 months would I still be considered a runaway of would that be taken away since I am 18? Also if I stoped going to school about 3 months before school ended and I turn 18 what would happen? When I did turn 18 would u be in any trouble or would I be able to still go in and disenroll and get my Ged? My home life is hard my parents don't ever let. Me do anything and are always trying to blame me for stuff that I didn't do. I'm tired of not being able to hang out with friends but mostly jot being able to go out and look for jobs or get a job before I turn 18.i would like to be able to have some money and a place to work before I turned 18.if I did leave my house and just lived on my own when I turn 18 would I be able to just go about my life and get my ged and a normal job? Or would me leaving school 3 months early(AL ready planing on dropping out) make a problem for me getting a job and ged?

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for taking the time to reach out with your questions. While we are not legal experts, we can share the knowledge we do have about runaway laws. It sounds like you have been doing some of your own research which is really responsible!

    Generally speaking, your parents are your legal guardians until you turn 18, so they can decide where you live. If you do choose to leave without permission, your parents can report you as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means that if your parents know where you are staying then they can have the police return you home. However, some police departments are more lenient with youth who are close to turning 18 and might not pursue a runaway report. You can call the non-emergency number for your local police department to ask more about their runaway protocol.

    Once you turn 18 the runaway report would be void and it would be taken off of your record. You would no longer be considered a runaway and would not get into any legal trouble. At 18 you will be considered a legal adult and have the legal freedom to make choices about where you live and enrolling yourself in a GED program. The National Center for Homeless Education has more knowledge and expertise regarding young people who have left home getting an education. You can contact them to ask more about how continuing school, https://nche.ed.gov/ .

    A transitional living program might be a helpful option for you when you turn 18. This is a stable place to live that can help you with employment, continuing your education, and learning important life skills to be independent. We are happy to look for resources in your area if you call our hotline at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at 1800runaway.org.
    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!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

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