Child home alone, at what age is it legal?
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Post  Sun, Jul 09 2006, 10:46 pm
This is a very interesting topic, mostly because my dh and I always disagree on this subject. Whenever my kids are off from school and I have to run out during the day for an hour or so, my 11 year old is not interested in tagging along. she hates to shop, she'd rather stay home and read or relax . I allow her , because I feel she is responsible enough not to open the door to anyone and not to answer the phone if she does not recognize the caller ID. DH says she should not be left home alone yet. I agree that of course at night she shoul not be left alone yet, but during the day for an hour or two, I don't see anything wrong with it, especially because she is very trustworthy and responsible.
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Post  Sun, Jul 09 2006, 11:15 pm
Cindy, if God forbid...... could you be implicated in child abuse/neglect? Could you be handcuffed, your other kids sent to foster care, the works? I've emailed the City personnel and will post their reply as soon as I hear from them.
The reason I fret is because someone next door got a knock on her door, from the ACS. The ACS rep said that a child had answered the phone for a caller (who then reported) and when asked said that no parent was home. Because this incident hit close to home, literally, a few yards away from my own door, I am veeeeeerrrryyyyy scared to leave my nearly-12-yr-old home alone. I have an appt coming up and what's a kid to do with Mommy for 4 hours sitting in a waiting room......
I never leave my kids home alone at night, I pay nearly $10 an hour to have a sitter come over, and my youngest is 7. In fact, I choose to ignore the topic of yichud as I fear it may mean I can no longer have my sitter watch my son. What's a mom to do?!
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Post  Mon, Jul 10 2006, 2:38 pm
First of all , it sounds like the person that reported this child home alone was either looking to cause troulble for the family, or the child sounded very young, and then of course that would raise concern! But a nearly 12 year old, who is responsible enough to follow parents' instructions while they are home alone??! I would most certainly not leave her babysitting her younger siblings, but by herself, I don't see a problem with leaving an 11 -12 year old alone for an hour or two during the day , and of course checking on them in the middle via cellphone.
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Post  Mon, Jul 10 2006, 2:43 pm
Just make sure your child knows never to tell anyone that they are home alone!
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Post  Mon, Jul 10 2006, 9:41 pm
As promised, here's my question to and response from the OCFS:

I could not find a definitive answer to this question on your site, so I
hope you can answer me. At what age may a child stay home alone and the
legal guardian would not be implicated in abuse/neglect?
Also, if someone needs a sitter for her child(ren), how old must the
sitter be and the guardian should not be implicated in child
I thank you for your response!

Thank you for contacting the New York State Office of Children and
Family Services (OCFS) on July 9, 2006. You had inquired about the laws
on child supervision.

Please be advised that there are no statutes that govern when a child
may be left alone unsupervised. The Office of Children and Family
Services (OCFS) is often asked this. There is no single answer to this
question. As children develop at different rates, so does the ability
of the child to be responsible and independent to be left alone vary as
to age.

In the OCFS website under "Child Protective Services - Frequently Asked
(http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/prevention/faqs.asp#supervision) this
question is discussed and some guidance is provided to a parent seeking
to make this determination.

If you have reason to believe that a child who is not capable of being
left alone is being left unsupervised, and is thus being neglected by
his or her parents or other caretaker, or otherwise being abused or
maltreated, you should contact the Statewide Central Register of Child
Abuse and Maltreatment by calling 1-800-342-3720.

We hope this information is helpful to you.

OCFS Public Information Office
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Post  Tue, Jul 11 2006, 12:51 pm
amother wrote:
There is no single answer to this
question. As children develop at different rates, so does the ability
of the child to be responsible and independent to be left alone vary as
to age.

Sensible answer.
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Post  Wed, Jul 12 2006, 1:41 pm
My story.
I live in a yiddish only community, we leave our doors unlocked, our kids play on the street without constant supervision. 2 yrs ago I left my 11 yr old home with a 4-6-8-yr old. The young ones were not even in the house, they were in the hallway playing with the neighbors kids. It was only for 10-15 min. till my husband picked me up from the Drs. office. A telemarketer called, and my daughter said her parents are'nt home. He called police. Meanwhile my daughter had called us on the cell, and we were home by the time police came. For 1 yr we were dealing with CPS.

My daughter was 100% capable of watching for those 15 minutes. We share the hallway with 4 other families, and we always look out after each others kids. On a side note, I am an overprotetive mother. I always let my neighbor know that I am leaving my 15 yr old babysitting that she should check in on them. (and I always have a cellphone.)
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