DETROIT, MI – Did you know that if your 17-year-old child has runaway from home that you as the parent will be caught in a catch 22 situation?
Attorney Renee C. Walsh wrote a Customized Legal Information article that highlights the problem. Her article begins with a very interesting question. “Wow, this is really interesting how Michigan laws treat 17-year-old runaways. They are not an “adult”, not a “juvenile” and also not a “child” under Michigan law. What are they then, and when they run away, can Michigan Law provide the authority for the parents to do anything?”
Rene states that it’s not illegal for a 17-year-old runaway to voluntarily leave home without parent permission. Since it isn’t against the law, there is no jurisdiction for the police to return the teen home just because they ran away. They can be returned home if they are in danger. If they are in an unsafe or unhealthy environment, Child Protective Services has the authority to conduct an investigation and may be able to take action.
Whats more disconcerting is that if your 17-year-old does run away from home, you as the parent are still legally financially responsible for that child.
Walsh also found in the Michigan statute that if the run away child is 17-years-of-age, a person or persons aiding or abetting of juveniles, or harboring of runaways is legal. It becomes illegal if that child is under the age of 17.
For those parents who have children under the age of 17, you should familiarize yourself with Renee Walsh’s article and decide if you want to take the law to task and get it changed.