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  • Runaway

    Hey, I’m 17 in Illinois and I’m in a very neglectful household. My mom hasn’t been taking care of any of my needs for the past year. I have my own job and I’m looking into jobs in the city I’m planning on going to, I would be staying with my boyfriend and his family and I’ll still be going to school in an online homeschooling program that’ll let me get my diploma before I’m 18. My birthdays in January and I’m planning on leaving without my mom knowing. Would the family Id be staying with get into legal trouble for letting me stay with them even if I’m funding myself and working full time? I would also like to know if I’d get into any legal trouble as well for running away without parental consent? And other than the things I’ve listed before what else would I need to do to do this legally?

  • #2
    Thank you for reaching out to NRS. We are here to help support during these extremely tough moments. No one deserves to be treated that way; especially by your parents who should always offer unconditional love and support your basic needs.

    It sounds like you’ve done a lot of research and we applaud you for being so proactive despite all the challenges you are figuring out on your own. Although we are not legal experts, we will do our best to help you: To address you first question, although you will be turning 18 years old in 6 months (18 years old is considered a legal adult in the state of Illinois), if you runaway without your mother knowing, there is a chance that she could file a “runaway report” which goes through the local law enforcement and your name, age, and other basic information is included in a national database so if you happened to be found or an officer questioned you, your name would appear in said system. It depends upon how your mother would react to your absence without being told.

    In terms of whether your boyfriend and his family would get in trouble, there is also a chance this may occur. Legally, it is called “harboring a runaway” which, in the state of Illinois, means that if you (still considered a minor) are at someone’s place without parental permission for more than 48 hours, your mother could charge your boyfriend’s parents with . Again, this all depends upon what actions your mother would take, so we cannot give you a definite answer on that.

    You may try to become an emancipated minor given that you have your own job, but you would need to provide evidence that you can support all of your living expenses on your own to a court judge. Often, this process takes many months, but you may search for pro bono attorneys in your local area who provide more definite information on this.

    We do offer a conference call service here at NRS where, if you felt it may help, we can have you and your mother on a single phone call to hold a safe and neutral space for you and your mother to discuss topics that may be difficult to face alone in conversation.

    It takes bravery to reach out and ask for help. We are a 24/7 service readily available to help you with further questions that you may have through online chat, forum, and email. Do not hesitate to reach back out.

    We wish you the very best,

    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)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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