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Legal ramifications of housing a runaway

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  • Legal ramifications of housing a runaway

    My son (13) has a good friend (13) who, along with his mother and sisters, is abused by his father physically and mentally. His mother is an alcoholic and abuses drugs. We tried helping his mother and the children, but when the father saw that he was losing control of his family, he told us that we aren’t allowed to communicate with his family anymore. They are too afraid to report the abuse to the police as he didn’t get any jail time after putting her older son (who later ran away as a teenager) in the hospital. We were told by a mutual friend that he wants to come live with us. We have extra bedrooms and the means to support him, but don’t want to get into legal trouble. What are our options?

  • #2
    Hey there. Thanks for reaching out to us here at NRS--we commend you for even thinking about helping in this way and making sure that you have an understanding of the process before diving in. Unfortunately because we don't know the state that you're in, we aren't able to provide the information that you're looking for through this forum. You may be able to find your state's laws by reviewing Alone Without a Home: A State-by-State Review of Laws Affecting Unaccompanied Youth: Do please note that this was published in 2012 and laws change frequently, so it might not be representative of the laws around unaccompanied youth now. If you can't find the information you're looking for through that review, you can reach out to us directly and we can help find that information based on your state. We can also help connect you with general legal aid that might be able to firmly answer some of your questions.

    Please don't hesitate to reach out to us by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY or by live chat through our website at We're available 24/7 and are always happy to listen, and to help.

    Thank you for what you're doing and take care.

    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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