LawRefs Customized Legal Information
Attorney Renee C. Walsh

Florida Runaways

Florida’s law prohibiting runaways to get help is illegal because the language is not clear in that it conflicts with itself. On the one hand, it provides that help may be provided for 24 hours after which time, the helper must contact the parents or the police. On the other hand, it provides that there is no 24 hour window and anyone who helps is violating the law.

Codified at Chapter 985 of the Florida Statutes 985.731 addresses sheltering unmarried minors and aiding unmarried minor runaways. Essentially, it provides that a minor (person under the age of 18 per 101.1(13) Fla Stat who is not married can get 24 hours of help from someone before that someone is required to get the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian or notifying a law enforcement officer. Then, in subsection (b) it provides that a person may not knowingly provide aid, including shelter, without first contacting the parent or guardian or notifying a law enforcement officer.

Those who feel it necessary to provide assistance to a runaway can argue that the law is invalid in that it conflicts with itself, and as such the law unenforceable against them. In the alternative, they can argue that they are allowed to provide 24 hours of assistance. Furthermore, the runaway, if necessary, could seek assistance from someone new every 24 hours.

Additional Resource:

Legal Guide for Pregnant Teens in Florida
17-year-old Runaways


  1. Terry Marmaduke says:

    How does the law affect juveniles like Brenton Butler, the 16 year old who was tried an an adult in Jacksonville, Fl, should he have been questioned without a parent or guardian present.