Are you are tired of being on the run and the situations you find yourself in? Maybe you or you didn’t find what you were looking for? Whatever the reason, you feel it’s time for the situation to change. You are thinking about returning, but you don’t know how to go about it or what will be waiting for you when you return. Here are some starting points to help you see the positives and negatives of going back.
If you are thinking about going back, you are not saying that the reasons that led you to run away are no longer there or no longer difficult. It shows that you are taking charge of your situation by choosing to return on your own, rather than being found and brought back (by the police, a family member, etc.). It does not mean defeat or giving into someone else’s decisions by going back. In fact, it is the opposite; you are showing your intention to fix the problems that led you to leave.
The decision to return is not always an easy one. You can find support to help you think through your choices. You can try to speak with a person you trust who will listen to you without judging you or trying to influence you. Also, someone who is not directly involved in your situation can almost always share a different outlook on your situation, and by doing so, usually help you find solutions you may not have considered or known about. Talking about your experiences helps to sort through difficult situations, and to see things more clearly.
If there is no one in your immediate circle whom you can talk to and who you trust (friends, family, people close to you), don’t worry because other possibilities exist. This person you can trust could also be a community worker, a social worker, a teacher, a professor, a psycho-educator/ youth worker, a nurse, a doctor, etc. There are also resources that can help you and give you information on different issues related to running away. Don’t hesitate to contact them.
If it difficult for you to image returning because you are afraid of the possible consequences, try, in spite of everything, to establish a first contact. It does not hurt to have another look at how you feel and think versus how your caregivers see the situation. Sometimes things are totally different from what you may think . . .
Here are a series of questions that you can ask yourself in order to help you prepare for what might happen:
What are you expecting when you go back? How do you think life might change once you return? How do you want to get there? Do you want to have a lawyer, social worker or someone else help you with this process? Are there things that you would like to see change? Do you want to negotiate certain terms before you, or when you arrive? What compromises are you ready to make? Do you have things that you want to suggest?
If you are planning to go back, it is perhaps time (if you haven’t already) to reach out to the person or persons with whom you lived and thus begin a discussion. It’s through talking that the situation can change, discussions can take place, and agreements can be made. If you do not wish to contact the person who is legally responsible for you directly, do not hesitate to contact another person with whom you feel you can talk to about all of this.
Running away may not be considered an illegal act. However, many of the things you may need to do in order to survive or situations you may find yourself in might be considered illegal, and result in negative consequences. It is best that you are aware of these possible consequences and that you prepare yourself.
There could be many more problems if you are on the run from somewhere you were told to be, such as a rehabilitation centre, hospital or foster family. Examples of problems you may face are: losing your placement in one of these homes, being transferred to somewhere you may not want to go to, losing privileges and possibly having stricter rules to follow ( for example intensive supervision).
Whatever the situation, don’t hesitate to ask questions about these consequences. You probably are not interested in returning to a placement, only to be unhappy and want to run away again.
It is very important that you know that you and your caregivers are BOTH governed by certain laws, specifically the Youth Protection Act (YPA) and the Quebec Civil Code. These laws give you certain rights as well, and it is important that your rights are also respected. Therefore, if you have the feeling that someone is taking away or limiting some of your rights, you should know that solutions do exist in the law.