What is the law in Illinois for leaving children home alone?
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Q:

What is the law in Illinois for leaving children home alone?

A:

Quick Answer

As of September 2014, Illinois law states anyone under the age of 14 "without supervision for an unreasonable time" is considered a neglected or abused minor. Someone found guilty of this kind of neglect is charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

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Full Answer

More serious offenses of child abandonment are when children under the age of 14 are left alone for 24 hours or more without consideration for the child's physical and mental health. Parents found guilty of this charge serve one to three years in prison, according to Illinois Legal Aid.

Illinois law lists several criteria to determine the severity of the child neglect when the minor is left alone, including the person's age, access to food, whether or not emergency contact numbers were left with the child, weather conditions, time of day and location of the parent/guardian at the time the child was unsupervised.

FindLaw states Illinois is one of two states that specifically proscribe when children can be left alone, as of September 2014. In Maryland, children under the age of 8 cannot be left alone in a house. FindLaw also explains the Department of Health and Human Services has guidelines for children left at home alone, including maturity level, independence and a child's ability to follow directions.

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Related Questions

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    How old does a child need to be to stay home alone in New Jersey?

    A:

    New Jersey law does not give a specific minimum age at which children may be left home alone. However, New Jersey statute 9:6-8.21 is applicable to abuse and neglect if a child under 18 has been endangered when left home alone.

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    What is the legal age for children to stay home alone overnight?

    A:

    In the United States, no federal law exists setting an age at which children can stay home along unsupervised, although some states have certain restrictions on age for children to stay home alone as well as duration of unsupervised period. Generally, individual families have quite a bit of flexibility in determining when children are physically and emotionally mature enough to remain home without parental supervision. Although most states do not have specific ages for leaving kids alone, some states, such as Maryland, require children who are age 8 or younger to have adult supervision, such as a babysitter or nanny, when parents must leave the home.

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    What is the definition of "child care"?

    A:

    While a person often provides basic care and supervision of her own children, the term "child care" most often refers to care for children provided by someone else outside the home. Many working parents take toddlers to daycare centers or in-home providers for childcare before they reach school age.

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    What are the home alone laws?

    A:

    The term "home alone laws" generally refers to the legal age at which a child may be left at home without parental supervision. These laws vary by individual states, and many states do not establish a minimum age for leaving a child unsupervised.

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