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I want to run away from my foster home

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  • I want to run away from my foster home

    I want to run away from my foster home. I just turned 16 three weeks ago. I want to finish this year of school though. I don't want the cops to find out where I'm at. I need to go home and be with my mom because she attempted suicide because we got taken away from her. It's only been a week but I don't want to lose my mom because I'm away from her. I can't let the law stop me from helping her. Please give any advice you can. Can the cops come in and search a house for a runaway without a warrant? Can I still go to school? How long will the cops be looking for me actively? Thanks for any answers

  • #2
    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 guardian permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian/state 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); (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,

    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)


    • #3
      That is a lot for you to be dealing with as a 16 year old. It sounds like you have been a caretaker for your mom, maybe even more so than she has been for you. Please realize that getting an education is your #1 job right now. It is the most important thing you can do for yourself to have a better future and be able to support yourself (& family) when you are an adult. Your mom probably suffers from depression and possibly other mental health issues. Please know that's nothing to be ashamed of. It just means she needs some extra help right now. Please understand that there are groups and organizations as well as medical professionals that are specially trained to assist those in need of support and treatment of these conditions. I'm sure you want your mom to have the best care possible, but right now, that's not you. If you have the opportunity to talk with her, encourage her to reach out like you are doing to the suicide hotline. If you have an opportunity to talk with a family friend or family member that could help your mom get the assistance she needs, let them know what's going on. Talk to your school counselor and express your concern for your mom and let them know this could be a very serious situation and that your mom might harm herself. Also think what your mom would want for you, next to her kids being able to come home.... I would guess that she would want you to continue in school and work hard to achieve your goals, which should be graduating high school and maybe going to college. You can always go to school, homeless, as a runaway or otherwise. I know here in SC, we have the Mckinney-Vento act. I believe this applies nationwide.
      "The McKinney-Vento Act requires schools to enroll unaccompanied youth in school immediately, even if they lack a parent or guardian or documents typically required for school enrollment."
      And the school District liaison will help the student complete their enrollment and gather any necessary documents. Keep in mind, that yes, your mom could get in trouble for letting you stay with her when the state has deemed it appropriate for you to go to a foster home. I know this is sad but the best thing you can do for your mom right now is stay where you are at and let people know her situation so that hopefully she will get the help she needs and be able to get you kids back; however, hat may not happen by the time you are 18, at which point you can live where ever you want but with a high school education you will be better prepared to work and/or go to college and most importantly be able to support yourself (and possibly your mom too). I hope this helped some. Stay strong and remember you are only accountable for you right now and running away from your foster home will only complicate matters and possibly jeapordize your future. The best thing you can do right now is stay in school and study hard.Good luck to you and your family. I know 18 seems so far away right now but hold on, it will be here soon. I want you to be prepared with a good education! I pray that your mom gets the help she needs. Best wishes! (Maybe you should go into the medical field and train to help others like your mom, just a thought)-
      From: A Nurse Practitioner in South Carolina.


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