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Leaving Children Home Alone

Original post made by Home Alone, Meadow Park, on May 22, 2010

What are the laws in Californis about leaving children home alone? I found a lot of guidelines:

* Children ages 6 and under should never be left without direct supervision, even for a short time. If a child is unable to quickly find and talk in person to a parent or sitter, the child is unsupervised.
* Children ages 7 to 10 rarely, if ever, should be without direct supervision. Depending on the child's maturity and capability, as well as the situation, more mature children in this age group may be left alone for a very short time, usually 15 minutes or less.
* Children ages 11 to 14 probably do not need a sitter if the parent is gone occasionally for a few hours. A child would need supervision, preferably by an adult, if the parent is gone regularly or for long periods (such as working).
* Children ages 15 and up, for the most part, do not need a sitter. If, however, a child has special needs, supervision may be in order.

Comments (1)

Like this comment
Posted by kmom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

There is indeed a law which covers this topic and it is clearly
referenced in:


For the purposes of this statute, CALIFORNIA CODES PENAL CODE SECTION
11165 defines a child as “a person under the age of 18 years".

In addressing GENERAL NEGLECT in SUBSECTION 11165.2(b) the statute
"General neglect" means the negligent failure of a person having the
care or custody of a child to provide adequate food, clothing,
shelter, medical care, or supervision where no physical injury to the
child has occurred.”

The operative word here under the color of California law is
“supervision”, or more specifically, the lack thereof. Technically,
any child under the age of 18 left unsupervised COULD raise the
suspicion of authorities that the child is being neglected. This,
however, usually does not come into play until and unless someone
lodges a complaint or the child exhibits delinquent behavior resulting
in a criminal (illegal) or status (an act that is only considered
illegal because the offender is a minor – possession of alcohol,
truancy, runaway, etc) offense.

CALIFORNIA CODES PENAL CODE SECTION 11165.2(b)is the crime in which a
parent or guardian may be charged citing GENERAL NEGLECT and/or CHILD

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