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Is it illegal to help a runaway?

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  • Is it illegal to help a runaway?

    I have a 17-year-old friend who wants to get out of an abusive household, I was wondering would it be illegal to buy him a one-way plane ticket even if he won't be living with me?

  • #2
    Hello, thank you for reaching out! It sounds like you are really concerned about your friend’s safety and want to try and help them. Is your friend is living with a parent/ legal guardian? If so, it is possible that they could file a missing person or runaway report since your friend is a minor. If this happens, you could get into some legal difficulties for aiding and abetting a runaway by buying them a plane ticket. We also want to be clear that we are not legal experts but generally know some basic runaway issues.


    If you are concerned about your friend’s safety, you could talk with them about contacting DCFS or CPS. If they decide to file a report, an agent will come to the house and assess if there is any evidence of abuse or neglect. Then it could be possible for the agency to find alternative housing for your friend, such as another family member or foster home. If your friend decides to go this route, childhelp.org is an organization that can walk them through the process.

    We are so glad that you reached out to us. If you have any more questions, you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat. Please feel free to contact us any time. 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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    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

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