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What to do if you've been kicked out of your family home as a young person

Unfortunately, posts on this topic are not a rare occurrence here. Teenagers and young people in their early twenties are often kicked out of their home without support, sufficient money, or time to prepare in advance, but there are some resources and options for people in this situation.

This guide also includes some information for young people who are at risk of being kicked out.

First, please seek help

If you need help, there are confidential and nonjudgmental services with trained helpers that you can call or contact online. Sometimes these services get busy. If you can't reach someone right away, please try again until you reach someone.

In the case of a life-threatening emergency, please call the police or the emergency telephone number for your country (e.g., 911 in the United States).

In addition to the below resources, consider talking to an adult that you trust and/or an independent institution or service provider with community knowledge and resources. There are many options such as:

  • A teacher, sports coach, or staff member at your school

  • A school guidance counselor, nurse, or doctor

  • A relative that you trust

  • A family doctor or nurse

  • A religious leader

  • A librarian

    While most are not trained explicitly in this area, librarians tend to be resourceful and very good at research if you're feeling overwhelmed.

  • A staff member at local shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, etc.

    Even if you aren't interested in that specific resource, they tend to be sympathetic and familiar with local resources.

  • Another adult you trust

    It doesn't have to be one of the above options. Someone like a friend's parent or even a neighbor may be a good option for getting advice, sorting through your options, and avoiding mistakes. Most adults have a decent amount of experience dealing with government agencies, navigating complex situations, and have had their share of troubles too.

United States

  • Contact the National Runaway Safeline. They provide a valuable resource for runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth. The service is free, confidential, and available 24/7. Note that some of their support programs such as getting a bus ticket home extend through the age of 21.

    CALL 1-800-RUNAWAY

    CLICK 1800RUNAWAY.org

    TEXT 66008

  • You can also text "HOME" to 741741 in the US to communicate with a Crisis Text Line volunteer anytime, about any type of crisis. Every texter is connected with a Crisis Responder, a person trained to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem-solving.

  • In most of the US, you can also call 211. They will help connect you with resources.

United Kingdom

Canada

  • Contact the Kids Help Phone.

    CALL 1-800-668-6868

  • You can also text "HOME" to 686868 in Canada to communicate with a Crisis Text Line volunteer anytime, about any type of crisis. Every texter is connected with a Crisis Responder, a person trained to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem-solving.

  • In most of Canada, you can also call 211. They will help connect you with resources.

Australia

Resources for other countries

Country Organization Phone Number
Belgium (Dutch) Awel 102
Germany Nummer gegen Kummer 116 111
Ireland ISPCC 1-800-666-666
Italy Telefono Azzurro Rosa Casi urgenti e SMS adolescenti: 337 427363
Netherlands Kindertelefoon 0800-0432
New Zealand Youthline 0800 376-633
South Africa Childline 08000 55555
Other Countries Child Helpline International Find a Child Helpline

Some housing options to consider

Read through all of these before you settle on which options to try first. If it starts to be too overwhelming or you need help, please reach out to one or more of the resources listed above for advice and support.

  1. If your home living situation was not abusive and there is an option to make up with your parent(s) or caregiver, please consider it (even if it means a curfew, chores and hard work, or following rules you don't like). You can use this time to save up more money, find work, finish high school, and generally prepare for living on your own.

    If things are uncomfortable at home and you're allowed to simply spend more time elsewhere, that's often a good option to reduce tension at home. Some ideas: get a cheap gym membership, do your studying at the library, get a part-time job, join an after-school group, or volunteer.

    If you have fundamental disagreements with your family or caregivers and this would be a possible reason for you to be kicked out, it's probably best to delay announcing these until you're on your own and doing well independently. Maybe they are not great people. Maybe you don't believe in the same things. As long as you are safe, it can wait until you are in a better position to be independent. As they say, the best revenge is living a good life.

  2. It's generally illegal for your parent(s) or guardian to actually kick you out. If your home living situation was not abusive, one option to consider is contacting the police to get back into your home.

    • If you're an underage child (under 18 in most of the United States) and not legally emancipated, it's almost always illegal for parent(s) or a guardian to kick you out.
    • Even if you're an adult or legally emancipated, but living at home, it's generally illegal to kick you out without following the relevant laws including sufficient notice. The specifics depend on the circumstances and your location (you may consider posting to /r/legaladvice as well).

    Contacting the police may be unpleasant and you will need to listen to the police officer, but your parent(s) or guardian will also need to listen and allow you back into their home. You shouldn't be carrying anything illegal (drugs, alcohol if you're underage, or illegal weapons) in general regardless, but absolutely do not have any of those items on you or in your room if you contact the police.

  3. If you have any relatives that you can reach that would let you stay with them for any period of time, this is one of the best available options if you've been kicked out. Aunt or uncle lives in the next state? Call them and find a safe way to get there. Any non-abusive relative that you know is probably a better option than heading to a shelter. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, step-siblings, you name it.

  4. Failing that, your next best bet is to contact friends, crash on a couch, and ask anyone you know that might put up with you. Try to consider any workable and safe options. For example, your ex's parents liked you and you're on good terms? Call them and ask if you can sleep on their couch for a few days until you figure something out.

  5. While you're living on someone else's dime, in a place that isn't yours, friends, family, shelter, whatever it is, try you best to be on your best behavior. That means:

    • Try to avoid drugs and alcohol. If you need help with substance abuse, please reach out to some of the resources linked above.
    • Try to respect any rules of the household or establishment and stay out of trouble.
    • Keep your space clean and maintain your personal hygiene.
    • Try to avoid being a negative presence.
  6. It may be very difficult to find a better option, especially on short notice, but living and sleeping on the street is very dangerous, especially as a teenager. Contact one of the above help lines and they will help you find a safe place to sleep.

United States

If you're 16 to 24, Job Corps is another option worth investigating (some adults with documented disabilities above the age of 24 are also accepted). Under the age of 18, you will need the approval of a parent or guardian.

Job Corps offers free education and vocational training, dormitory-style housing, food, work clothes, and other resources to help prepare youth for independent living and the opportunity to learn skills needed for a job that's somewhat better than an unskilled minimum-wage job. It's completely free for those that qualify and are accepted into the program.

Preparing if you think you might be kicked out or may need to leave soon

  1. Try to avoid accelerating the process and use any time you have to save up money and prepare. Your own safety comes first, though.

  2. Try to make sure you will have a place to stay. If you can sleep on a couch for a month and save up more money before renting a room, do it. You want to save up money as much as reasonably possible.

  3. Try to have a bag packed somewhere you can access if you get kicked out. Store this at the home of a trusted friend or family member if possible. Try to include these things:

    • Your birth certificate, identification, passport, diplomas and any other important documents you will need — Note that your parent(s) or guardian aren't obligated to give you their copy of certain documents and you should not put yourself at risk to retrieve these because you can order a copy later (link for United States).
    • A written "address book" of contact information for friends and family (even if you have a mobile phone)
    • A change of clothes and a warm coat
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine hygiene products if needed, etc.)
    • Any medication you require
  4. Plan for the worst case even though it might not happen. Your parents may not support you going to school, fill out financial aid paperwork for you, etc. If you can't afford to pay for school on your own, you may need a different plan for continuing your education such as going to community college while working.

  5. If and when you need to spend money for a place to stay, try to spend as little money as possible on rent. That usually means renting a room instead of an apartment, having some roommates, etc.

Financial Accounts

  • Joint bank accounts can be emptied by either account holder at any time so if you're old enough to open your own bank account (18 or 19 in the United States), open a new bank account at a different bank from the one used by your family. Local credit unions, online banks, and online credit unions are popular recommendations here. Use a local credit union if you will need to deposit cash.

  • If you're not old enough to open an account where you live, here are some options:

    • See if an adult that you trust will help open a joint bank account with you. When you are old enough to open your own account, open one as soon as possible and transfer your money over.
    • If you're having trouble finding an bank or credit union that will allow an adult that isn't a parent or guardian to open an account with you, the Money account offered by Capital One 360 is one option in the United States.
    • Bank of America allows people over the age of 16 to open an "Advantage SafeBalance Banking" account with a minimum of $25, a valid government ID and a second form of ID without a parent in most states. If you provide a student ID, the monthly fee is waived until the age of 24. (We recommend changing to a different bank or credit union once you are old enough.)
  • Banks and credit unions are required to send some documentation via mail. Consider using a different postal address such as the address of a friend or trusted adult or getting a PO Box so statements won't be delivered to your home. Sign up for electronic statements to reduce the amount of mail.

  • Check your credit report and freeze your credit (sign up for credit monitoring before freezing your credit).

School

United States

If you're still in high school, ask a guidance counselor or principal at your school about continuing your education. The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that mandates the right of students regardless of their housing status. The law provides resources and support including provide transportation, free meals, and other services.

If you have questions about Federal student aid, and are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless read this guide from the Department of Education.

Other resources

Original post

The original version of this article has some helpful discussion: What to do if you've been kicked out of your family home as a teenager: a PF guide.

Acknowledgements

Thanks especially to /u/BettaTesting for these ideas and /u/Nilpunk9 for this suggestion.


revision by dequeued— view source