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Leaving home at 17 in Texas

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  • Hi there,

    Thank you for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. We are not legal experts but generally speaking, if you leave while still 17, your parents could file a runaway report and you could be returned home. There could also be legal consequences for whomever you stay with for what is called harboring a minor. One thing you can do is reach out to your local police to inquire how they handle runaway reports for 17 year olds. Some cities and departments treat them differently because a 17 year old is so close to becoming a legal adult. The way to get the most accurate information would be to call your local police non-emergency number and anonymously inquire about their practices. If you need help finding this number or want to discuss other options with a liner, we can be reached at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929).

    Best,

    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
    info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)
    Tell us what you think about your experience!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

    Comment


    • So my mom kicked me out when I was 17 but I previously wanted to leave because my mom was abusive mentally and the abuse was no longer physically. Everyone in the family noticed but they never said anything and like I wanted to move with my cousin and she kicked me out told me I was dead to her some family members took me in and like it wasnt working there so I left a few months after turning 18 and they disowned me. I been living with a close friends family and they treat me like family and i love them dearly. And lately they told me to report her that she left me at 17 and idk what to do. Maybe i should leave it in the past but like since i am not legal in the us and neither is she that would prevent her from ever becoming legal and i would be able to fix my legal status. I dont know what to do

      Comment


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        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 sounds like you have been through a difficult time in the past. We are sorry to hear that you had to go through that. We are not legal experts but you can find legal aid resources at https://www.lawhelp.org/ or call us at our 24 hour confidential hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or live chat with us and we will be happy to call legal aid resources on your behalf.

        You are acting strong by reaching out for help in this hard situation. We wish you the best and hope to hear from you soon.

        We hope this response was helpful! We’d love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to youth and families. Please click the link to fill out our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

        Be safe,
        NRS

    • if someone was 17 and pregnant and ran away from home, could police make them go back home? If the person had family to take care of them in another town and in a good environment for both her and the baby, would she get into trouble? Can she be enrolled into another high school without her parents there, but another family member? Would police make her go home if she does not wish for herself or her baby to be there?

      Comment


      • ccsmod7
        ccsmod7 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello there, thanks for reaching out today for this person. We are not legal experts, but we can speak generally.

        If someone who leaves home without permission when you are 17 and pregnant, they still could be returned home by police if their guardian files them as a runaway with local police. When 17 year olds runaway it generally depends on the state laws and the local police's protocol with what could happen. It is both possible that this person could be returned home or police could do a safety check and not return her. The best way to know that could happen is to call the local police and ask hypothetical questions about 17 year olds leaving home. If police except a runaway report and look for this person, the legal adult who knowingly houses them as a runaway could be at-risk of being charged with harboring a runaway by their guardians. So if that person's guardian would try to press charges against another family member that could be possible. Generally, it might be hard for someone who is not your guardian to enroll you in school; however, it might be possible if that family member obtains temporary guardianship or if you attempt to enroll as a homeless youth. To learn more about enrolling in school as a homeless youth, you might reach out to the National Center for Homeless Education Helpline 1-800-308-2145.

        Please do not hesitate to call or chat us so we can best help.

        Best,

        NRS

    • Hi, I am a seventeen year-old boy who's turning eighteen in a couple of months. I live in Texas and I want to go live with a family friend of mine. They're willing to take me in. Can I runaway without putting them in harm's way and my parents pressing charges against them?

      Comment


      • ccsmod11
        ccsmod11 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        Thanks for reaching out. We're not legal experts, but when we've called out to police in Texas to verify what the legal penalties for a youth running away are in a given area of the state, answers have differed wildly. Some police just return runaway youth home to guardians, but some refer runaway youth to juvenile detention centers. As a result, we can't really tell you the legal penalties for running away. However, if you call us at 1-800-786-2929, we can call your non-emergency police with you to determine what those penalties are where you live in Texas.

        Best,
        NRS

    • I am 17 living in lubbock texas, i currently have multiple problems living with my parents i have a job where i get paid good enough money to live on my own (me and my twin) can i leave my parents home?

      Comment


      • ccsmod6
        ccsmod6 commented
        Editing a comment
        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 parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian 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. It seems like you are interested in something more legal though. You may want to look into emancipation in your state. One helpful resource to help you start that process may be https://guides.sll.texas.gov/can-a-s...old-leave-home . You can also call into our hotline to see if we have any more information we can provide for your area.
        Again, we thank you for reaching out to the NRS. We are very spry to hear about the issues with your parents and hope it gets better. Take care.
        -NRS

    • I'm 17, I live in Texas, I have a job, & im a senior in high school. If I wanted to leave home with or without my parents consent, could I? I have a safe place to live & would not be in harms way.

      Comment


      • ccsmod11
        ccsmod11 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you're pretty close to turning 18, so it's understandable you would want to leave home. We're not legal experts, but when we've called out to police in Texas to verify what the legal penalties for a youth running away are in a given area of the state, answers have differed wildly. Some police just return runaway youth home to guardians, but some refer runaway youth to juvenile detention centers. As a result, we can't really tell you the legal penalties for running away in your state. However, if you call us at 1-800-786-2929, we can call your non-emergency police with you to determine what those penalties are where you live in Texas.

        Best,
        NRS

    • I am 16 years old, and will be 17 in 4 months. I live in Texas with my mom and 26 year old brother who just moved in with us. My mom and I have had so many problems before my brother came, but now that he’s here things have gotten even worse. They both treat me like I’m nothing and make me feel so worthless to the point where I’ve tried to commit suicide. I want to get out of here as soon as possible, but I have no where to go. I want to get a job and leave, but I’m scared of them. What should I do?

      Comment


      • Reply:I am 16 years old, and will be 17 in 4 months.

        Hello,
        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 sounds like you’re quite overwhelmed by things in your life right now.
        It sounds like you’re fearing that the stress from the situation is getting harder and harder to handle. It seems you once attempted suicide in the past. We are glad you are now looking for other options.
        We are sorry you are going through a tough emotional time.
        Having to try and cope with family (mom and brother) sounds like it has been upsetting and frustrating for you.

        Sometimes when things are too stressful it might help to talk with someone about it.
        Often, having a safe space to share how you’re feeling may bring a variety of solutions previously not thought of.

        This may be an isolating and lonely time for you, but you are not alone in this.
        NRS is here to listen and here to help.
        We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time.
        If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.

        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).

        You are welcome to discuss your situation and talk about possible options for help.
        What you did today by reaching out was great. Good job.
        We hope to hear from you soon.

        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
        info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
        1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)
        Tell us what you think about your experience!
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

        Comment


        • I need some advice!!!!

          Im 16 going to be 17 in three months. I want to leave so bad because my mother and I do not get along what so ever. I have no father so that is not an option for me. I graduated from high school about 5 months ago so school is not a problem. I am unable to work because my mother won't allow me to get a job. I know for a fact that she will report me as a runaway. I do have a place to go if i were to leave but can she force me to go home? Or can the police? What kind of trouble could I and/or the people housing me get into? Oh btw i live in texas.

          Comment


          • ccsmod7
            ccsmod7 commented
            Editing a comment
            So glad you reached out to the National Runaway Safeline (www.1800runaway.org). It sounds like a challenging situation with your mom. It’s great that you’ve already graduated from high school and want to get a job, yet your mother preventing you from allowing that to happen is certainly an obstacle. Here are some answers to your questions: If you runaway as a minor (in Texas the age of majority is 1 and the police find you, they will likely return you to your guardian (your mother). And from what you’ve said, she would report you as a runaway if you did leave. Further, the people housing you may face legal trouble as any person can be charged “harboring a minor”. That is a risk to be aware of. As a minor that runs away, you will not be in trouble with the police from a “breaking the law” standpoint. Running away is a status offense, which means that it’s only something youth can’t do because they’re a minor.

            Given the situation you’re facing, have you been able to reach out to any other relatives or adults to talk to about your mom and the obstacles she is placing on you? That can be helpful to determine if there are any other paths to take. Finally, you can certainly call NRS to talk in person about how you’re feeling and want to talk to someone directly.

            Good luck with your situation and please feel free to call NRS directly at 1-800-786-2929. Thanks for reaching out.
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