Currently in the state of Missouri a 17 year old is not considered a runaway if they leave home without parental consent. Teens are not only allowed to run away/ move out of the parents home for ANY reason they see fit, but are actually backed by law enforcement.The parents not only have NO recourse, but can face penalties if they take steps to make their child return home.This practice is commonly referred to as "The 17 Law".
Laws need to be enacted to state that anyone under the age of 18 is a child/minor unless emancipated or married. The law should consider anyone under 18 a runaway if they leave home without parental consent.Law enforcement should assist the parents efforts to return the child home.Anyone who aides a runaway,and who refuses to cooperate with parents and law enforcement efforts to return the child home should be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, harboring a runaway, and possibly obstruction of justice.
The "17 Law" and law enforcement practices that enable it are a slap in the face of RESPONSIBLE parenting. The state of Missouri needs to give responsible parents back the tools necessary to appropriately raise our children.
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