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Helping a 16yo in a bad situation

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  • Helping a 16yo in a bad situation

    My son's best friend is 16, lives in Pennsylvania, and is having a miserable time at home. There is no physical abuse so CYS won't help him. His father & step mother are very emotionally abusive and I've seen the effects it's had on this kid over the 5 years he's lived there. And the older he gets, the worse it gets.

    He wants to move into my house but his parents won't let him. CYS told me that at 17 (7 months from now) he could basically leave home and there wouldn't be "much" the parents could do about it. I've been helping him however I can for years and would happily let him live with me. I've already spoken to the State Police who told me they won't go get teens and return them home. He's a good kid who follows the rules and does great in school but he's getting desperate to get out of his house and I'd much rather have him stay with me where I know he'll be safe & cared for and he can continue school (he plans to go to college so he needs to stay in school).

    My question is this, if he were to just leave & come to my house & tell them where he was going, how much trouble can I potentially get in for letting him stay there? I know you're not lawyers, but any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Helping a 16yo in a bad situation

    Thank you for reaching out to us and sharing the details of your situation. This sounds extremely complicated but it seems like you have done your research and know some very good facts about the legal age at which a youth can leave home. If you can, get that information on paper: see if they can give you some copies of those laws just so you can back yourself up in case something backfired with CYS.

    If he decided to come to your house and his parents listed him as a runaway, the police would probably still come and get him even if he alerted his parents that he’s with you. If you got word from police and CYS that at age 17 he is allowed to live where he pleases, then 17 it is.

    But we hear what you are saying: he needs to be out of there because he’s not getting the proper attention that he needs. Depending on what county and city he is in, he can go to a youth shelter and from there, staff in the shelter should help him find proper resources. The shelter is temporary but it might be a place that would be able to listen to his problems at home and act accordingly. Sometimes social services gets called in to investigate the home as an appropriate/inappropriate place to live.

    If either of you is willing to call in to our hotline, we can explore the situation a little bit more and possibly provide you with more resources after we talk. We are available 24/hrs a day and we’re anonymous and confidential so neither of you has to worry about your information/identity being revealed to anyone outside of the call center.

    Best of luck,
    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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