Can a child leave home if they're under 19?

The age of majority in BC is 19. A child in BC can choose to leave home before they turn 19.

Their parent has a responsibility to financially support their child until they turn 19.

To find out more about child support if a child leaves home, see:

Updated on 25 July 2019

More children questions

Delegated Aboriginal agencies have an agreement with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to provide certain child welfare services to Aboriginal communities. The ministry's website has a full list of delegated Aboriginal agencies in BC.

If a child protection worker contacts you or visits your home to ask questions about your family, they might be working for a delegated Aboriginal agency.

Delegated Aboriginal agencies might have the authority to:

  • remove your child from your home, and
  • place your child in foster care.
See our information page on delegated Aboriginal agencies to find out more.

Many people believe that when children turn 12, they can choose which parent they'll live with, but this isn't true.

When your parents are trying to figure out where you'll live after they've separated or got a divorce, or if a judge is deciding, they have to make the decision based on something the law calls the child's best interests. This involves a bunch of things — not just what you want but also your relationship with each parent and their ability to take care of you.

If your parents or the judge think what you want isn't based on good reasons, or there are other important facts related to what's best for you, they can decide on living arrangements that you don't agree with.

If one parent's making it difficult for you to see your other parent, remember that you have a right to time with both your parents, if that's in your best interests.

To find out more, see:

The birth certificate registration only has information about the child's date and place of birth, and who the parents are. If you choose not to put the other parent's name on the birth certificate, that parent's legal relationship to the child is still the same, including their obligations to pay child support and their right to ask for:

  • guardianship,
  • parenting time and parental responsibilities under the Family Law Act,
  • parenting time and decision-making responsibility under the Divorce Act, or
  • contact with the child.

It's a good idea to get legal advice about this. See Tips about getting legal help for where to find a lawyer.


When couples separate, they usually make arrangements that let their children stay in touch with both of their families or other people who are important in the child’s life. This is called contact with a child.

If this doesn't happen, relatives and others who want to maintain a relationship with a child have a couple of options. These include speaking with family justice counsellors, going to mediation, and going to court.

To find out more, see: