Can My Children Stay Home Alone or with Older Siblings?
If you are the parent of a teenager or preteen, you may be wondering when you can legally leave your child home alone or in the care of an older sibling. Pursuant to Illinois Statute, a child 13 years of age or older can be left alone without adult supervision. However, a child under the age of 13 must be left in the care of a person 14 years of age or older. These guidelines are set forth in the Illinois Criminal Code, which defines child abandonment as:
"A person commits child abandonment when he or she, as a parent, guardian, or other person having physical custody or control of a child, without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that child, knowingly leaves that child who is under the age of 13 without supervision by a responsible person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more. It is not a violation of this Section for a person to relinquish a child in accordance with the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act." 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12c-10.
If you or someone you know is ever being investigated by law enforcement or the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) for abuse or neglect, you can and should retain an attorney immediately as child abuse, neglect and abandonment are serious crimes and can lead to removal of your children from your custody if not handled properly. You will need an attorney who understands the many ways these allegations can affect your life, from: criminal charges to abuse and neglect proceedings to divorce, custody and/or Order of Protection hearings. Jacqueline Aldrich and Marlene Siedlarz are experienced attorneys in family law matters, criminal defense and DCFS investigations and hearings. Contact us today for a free consultation. We handle cases in DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Kendall County and Cook County.