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17 and need to leave home

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  • 17 and need to leave home

    I'm 17 and I live in oregon. My grandmother got custody of me two years ago and as hard as I fought it I had to go with her. She's emotionally abusive:
    -She does not listen nor validate my feelings
    -she yells at me all the time -calls me names and criticizes me
    -she belittles me
    -she doesn't allow me to spend time with anyone except for her and my sister even when I ask to spend time with my friends she doesn't allow me to
    -she favors my sister
    -when I go to therapy she always Accesses the notes
    -i have on recording her telling me I have to eat out of the garbage
    She is physically abusive as well
    -she hits me, shoves me, grabs my arm hard enough to leave bruises(I actually have a picture of bruises on my arm), she's yanked my hair once
    I've run away twice technically, once I had no idea what to do so was just walking along the highway and the police picked me up I'd told her before I left that I'd rather die than live with her so the police took me to the hospital and I was put on suicide watch. The second time I went to my mom and probably shouldn't of since they knew I'd go there. My grandmother tried to push her getting in legal trouble and all it did was go well for me since they removed the no contact order. I had a lawyer but can't afford him any longer since she got me fired. CPS has been out many times and never does anything about it. I've researched a lot so I could put this together and make it easier to get advice. I need help figuring out where would be a safe place to go that will also let me keep my phone maybe? I pay for my own phone and its the only way I can contact my friends. If I were to go to a different state would they be able to force me back? (Last time they got a court order to return me) and is there a way I could maybe get emancipation without a lawyer or a job? I've been looking at jobs but she won't let me have one. Thank you in advance for any advice.


  • #2
    Hey there, and thanks for reaching out to us here at NRS. We know that it can take a lot of courage to reach out for support, and we're glad you took that step.

    It sounds like things with your grandma are pretty tough, and we're sorry to hear that. If CPS hasn't seen the photos that you have of your bruises yet, this might be a good time to file another report. While this doesn't guarantee that you'll be removed from the home, it's helpful in showing what's going on and in building up your case. It's also a good idea to continue reporting any physical abuse that's happening, whether that's directly to CPS or to safe person who you trust, like a teacher or a school social worker.

    As far as a safe place where you might be able to go--generally speaking, we encourage folks who are thinking about running away to consider staying with a family member or a friend. Emergency youth shelters are another option. However, it's important to know that both of these have their caveats. In staying with a family member or a friend, there is a potential risk that whomever you're staying with could face legal consequences based on harboring a runaway (or whatever the pertinent laws are in your state), much like the ones your grandma tried to pursue when you stayed with your mom. Emergency youth shelters on the other hand, are generally temporary and sometimes require parental consent, parental notification, or notification to CPS after a certain period of time (which I've seen range from immediately to 72 hours). For minors who do not want their parents/guardians to know where they are, or for CPS to be involved, this time constraint can also make a short term shelter stay even shorter.

    Because of your age, it might make sense for you to look into Transitional Living Programs (TLPs), which typically offer housing and housing support to homeless young adults, also providing them with resources to assist in that transitional time after legally becoming an adult. You may be able to find a TLP that works with 17 year olds, and generally speaking you can stay within a program for a few years. Beyond that, if college is on the table for you, it might be worth sticking it out at home with grandma until you graduate high school and start trying to put a solid plan in place for that transition. Consider completing your FAFSA and learning more about on-campus housing. You can also connect with an advisor at the school for more in-depth support during this time. While emancipation is likely an option for you based off of your age, it's unlikely that you'd be able to successfully move through the process without a job since you have to be able to show that you can financially support yourself. It's also worth knowing that it can be a pretty lengthy process, so it might make more sense to save some of your time and money since you'll be 18 sooner than later.

    If you were to go out of state and get picked up by the police, it is highly likely that you would be returned home. All US states have an agreement with one another to return runaways back to their home state, which is heightened if a missing persons report has been filed. Because there are allegations of abuse happening in your situation, it's possible that CPS would take over once you're returned back to the state, conducting an investigation from there.

    We know this is a lot of information, so please feel free to reach out to us directly to go over it in more detail. We can also try and find referrals to general legal aid, shelters, and Transitional Living Programs in your area. Our hotline number is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) and our online chat can be found on our website at www.1800runaway.org. We're available 24/7 and are always happy to listen, and to help.

    Take care.

    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)

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