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Reaching out

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  • Reaching out

    Hello, I have been thinking of running away from "home" for a while now. I actually have done so previously before, an uninformed attempt to get away. I reside in South California.
    My reasoning is because my mother has been emotionally and occasionally physically abusing me since I was little.
    I'm only 16 but I can't hold out for another two years, I'm in a really dark mental place.
    If my dad thinks he can get custody of me I'll try to hold out but if not I'm running off.

    ​​​​​​But I don't want to stop my education, are there any services that will provide an education to runaway youth? What about mental health services?
    Thank you for your time and help.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at NRS. It sounds like living with your mom has been taking a toll on your mental health and you are thinking about a plan to leave. You do not deserve to be abused in any way and it is not okay for your mom to be treating you like that. It's understandable you would feel like you need to get out of the situation as soon as possible. You have a right to feel safe.

    We can share some general information that might help you think through what your next steps would be. The easiest way to leave home is with your parent's permission, but we understand that this not always possible. Other ways could include your dad going to court to change the custody agreement or going through child protective services if your safety is a concern. It sounds like you might have already started this conversation with your dad. It might be helpful to talk to him more about this and if he is able to speak with a lawyer about getting a court order. You did mention that your mom is sometimes physically abusive. If she leaves any marks or bruises, it would be a smart idea to document this if possible. You could take pictures of any evidence of the physical abuse if it is safe to do so or even keep a journal detailing the incidents of abuse. You do have the option to report the abuse to child protective services. It might not mean you would be immediately removed from your mom's custody, but it could start a process with that outcome. If you want to learn more about the reporting process or get help with making the report you can speak with a child abuse advocate at

    The other option you had mentioned was running away. We do want to encourage you to take whatever steps you feel are necessary to keep yourself safe. If you decide to leave, the most important step to take would be ensuring you have a safe place to live. A helpful start could be to reach out to friends or family members who you might be able to stay with. There are some risks and challenges that would come with this to keep in mind. Your mom can report you as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This basically means she can ask police to return you home if she knows where you are staying. In most cases police do not actively search for a runaway, but they would ask your mom for suggestions of where you might be.

    Your right to an education would be protected by a law called the McKinney-Vento Act even if you are not living with a legal guardian. You can go to to find the Mckinney-Vento liaison in your area. This person can give you more information about enrolling in school without a guardian and provide any needed school-related support. We are also happy to help connect you with mental health resources. Although being able to access long-term care resources as a minor can vary state-by-state. You can contact the National Alliance on Mental health for more information and referrals to counseling, If you are ever in immediate need and want to chat with a counselor, NAMI has a crisis text line where you can be connected with someone by texting "connect" to 741741. If you contact us directly by phone or chat, we can also look in our database for any free or low cost services that might be available to you in your area.

    We hope this information helps. If you would like to talk more about your situation or explore your options further, please do not hesitate to reach out again. We are available 24/7 for immediate support by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or through live chat at

    Stay safe and stay strong!
    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!


    • #3
      Thank you so much for the information! Sadly I have tried to go to CPS multiple times, however they've only made the situation worse because of their disclosure policy.
      Also I gave up on CPS Because my last case worker, after leaving the house for a few hours, came back and ended up telling me - to my face, that if I was truly in danger I would've been dead in a pool of my own blood by the time she came back.

      However It'd be a good while before I'd be able to go to my dad's place, since I'm in America while he's in Canada.
      I'm in California if that helps with finding resources.


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey there,
        Thank you for reaching out to NRS. That sounds like a frustrating way to be treated by the CPS worker that is supposed to be there to protect you and help you through the situation. You don’t deserve to be treated that way.
        We are happy to help find resources to help you mentally survive until your dad can try to get full custody of you. is a good resource for someone to talk with and to get mental health support. There might be counseling resources and other options for finding supportive people close by to help keep you safe. We usually don’t provide local resources over forums as some of them have specific requirements to make use of the requirements and don’t want all their information public. If you want more local resources you can email us at [email protected] or use our online chat at You can also reach us by phone at 1-800-786-2929.
        We will only respond to forums and emails a maximum of three times before we will ask you to call or chat with us instead to provide better crisis intervention services.
        We hope to hear from you on phone or chat soon!
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