Texas Advocacy Project and Jane’s Due Process have partnered up to help teens in Texas with the emancipation process! 

What does this mean?
If you are wanting to become emancipated or would like to know more about it, you can call or text our hotline to complete an intake with a Jane’s Due Process volunteer.

Texas Advocacy Project will receive a copy of the intake and follow up with you on the next steps. This is completely confidential.

Our hotline is 24/7 and our text line operates 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM CST everyday: 866.999.5263

Do I need emancipation?
Emancipation is a legal way that a person below 18 years old can gain certain adult civil rights, like the ability to sign a lease or enroll yourself in school. 

In Texas, this process is called “Removal of the Disabilities of Minority.” Emancipated minors are free of any authority from their parent or other legal guardian, but they also have to accept adult responsibilities.  This is not to be taken lightly.  The options listed below might be easier and more appropriate.

  • You can file for emancipation by yourself, however:
    • You must be 16 or 17 years of age
    • You must be a Texas resident
    • 16 year olds must already be living separately from their parents or guardians (not required of 17 year olds)
    • You must be self-supporting and able to handle your own personal financial affairs, and
    • You have to go to court to prove to the judge why you need emancipation. 

If you have any questions about this process, call the Texas Advocacy Project (800-374-HOPE) or call or text Jane’s Due Process (866-999-5263) to complete an intake. 

 

There are some important facts that you should know about what you can do to get HELP:
If you want to leave home…

  • The easiest way to do so is to get your parents to agree to let you stay somewhere else. Maybe it’s a friend’s house. Maybe it’s an aunt or grandmother’s house. It should be somewhere where you feel safe and secure.  
  • If you are age 16 or younger and you leave home without permission, your parents or guardian can report you as a runaway and law enforcement can search for you and bring you back, AND can prosecute whomever you stayed with for “harboring a runaway.”  
  • 17 year olds who leave home without permission can be reported as a “missing person” and law enforcement may pursue them.  If you are contemplating running away, call the TX Runaway Hotline: 1-888-580-HELP for confidential advice and counseling.

 

If you are in an abusive situation…

  • You can make a report to the DFPS (Department of Family and Protective Services). Their number is toll free: 1-800-252-5400 (reports can be made anonymously).  If they decide to investigate, they may remove you to a new living situation.
  • Another option to escape abuse might be going to a local shelter.  
    • However, emergency shelter given to a minor may not continue after 15 days without: 1) their parent’s permission or 2) the minor has qualified for specific government sponsored financial help and is on the waiting list for housing assistance.  
    • Call the National Domestic Violence hotline to locate a shelter near you: 1-800-799-SAFE or chat with them at www.thehotline.org.
  • You may want to get a Protective Order or an Emergency Protective Order to keep you safe. A protective order is a court order from a judge that makes one person stay away from another. 
    • The order can make someone who has hurt a teenager keep away from your home, school, or work place. The order can also give you time to be away from your parents to decide if another adult should have legal guardianship until you turn 18 years of age, or it can keep you safe from a dating partner.  
    • This may mean that you have to find a new place to live. Call the Family Violence Legal Line 1-800-374-HOPE, for more info.

 

Resources for the Austin area:

HOUSING:
For the short-term housing in Austin, try: 

  • LifeWorks (transitional living): 458-2704, (supportive housing): 512-462-3518, (emergency shelter): 512-735-2100, 
  • OR SafePlace Austin: 512-267-SAFE. 
  • You might also want to get on the list for public housing for a semi-permanent solution. Call the Housing Authority for the City of Austin, (512) 477-3388.  

 

HEALTH:
In Texas, a minor can give permission for his or her own medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment if the teen is 16 years of age or older and lives on her own. 

  • For info about how to get birth control or an abortion without your parents permission call or text Jane’s Due Process 866-999-5263
  • You might try the People’s Community Clinic: 512-478-8924 in Austin, or call 211 to find another option.
  • To apply for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) to help pay medical bills, call: 1-800-647-6558

 

LIVING EXPENSES: 

  • TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is a program that provides financial and medical assistance to needy dependent minors and the parents or guardians with whom they are living. Call 1-888-752-4888 for help. 
  • Food Stamps are another good way to help make ends meet. You can apply at the Health and Human Services office, call 512-972-5520 for more.