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  #1  
Old 01/31/07, 09:49 AM
 
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Location: Wisconsin
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Is it legal for a minor child to stay home alone overnight?

A friend of mine ( and she is usually right about such things ) says that, at least here, in Wisconsin, it is illegal to leave one's minor children home alone, overnight. She has good and capable boys, ages 16 and 17, but still has them stay with friends if she is to be gone on an overnight trip. If something happened in her absence ( fire or some other emergency) she says that she could be charged with neglect? by leaving them alone overnight.

I'm not asking for myself, as my daughters are much too young for us to even consider such a thing, but I do have other friends who have left teenage children alone while they are out of town.

One of our tenants just called to let us know that she is going away on a business trip this weekend and that her 16 year daughter will be staying alone in the apartment. It was considerate of her to tell us this, as landlords this is good information to have. I will say that I certainly would not leave this particular child alone as she is on the wild side, but I'm not her parent and so it's not my place to go there. I do, however, wonder is it is even legal for this mother to leave her 16 year old alone for the weekend.

Any thoughts? Or knowledge of the legality of this situation?

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  #2  
Old 01/31/07, 09:56 AM
 
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Laws like that can be made by the state, county or city. So even if it's ok in some counties, it won't be in others. I had friends that lived in Virginia where the county had laws about the number of hours you could leave a child alone. Under 10, they had to be supervised all the time, 11-12 you could leave them for an hour or two, 13-15 for a few more hours but not overnight and then 16 and over you could be one night (or something along those lines).

Maybe try looking at your city/county codes? Most places have them online now...though they usually aren't very much fun to read!

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  #3  
Old 01/31/07, 10:06 AM
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When we lived in our first apartment, which was a two family duplex. The woman upstairs from us left her two kids home every weekend. They were ages 11 and 15. I would in no way have done that as I think that is too young. We would cringe when friday came rolling around, because we knew the mother would not show up after work and be gone all weekend and not be back until monday night. As most times the boy, who was the 15 yr old would have friends over and raise cain. After complaining with the landlord so many times, eventually the son would go off for the weekend alone and the 11 yr old girl was left alone. I felt bad for her, and she was usually fairly quiet. But the landlord said the mother complained, "that she deserved to have a life of her own!" SHEESH!! If you want your own life and do as you please and come and go as you please , then DON'T have children!!

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Old 01/31/07, 10:16 AM
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Also, I think it depends on the kid's maturity level. Some kids at 16 are very mature and act more responsible, like thier in thier twenties. Although you can have some twenty somethings act juvenile like they are only 13.

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Old 01/31/07, 11:12 AM
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I knew of a couple of kids ages 16 and 6 being left at home for days by themselves so I called the sheriff's office to see if this was okay.I was told yes because the boy was 16.I live in IL.I didn't like the answer,I kept a good watch over them and so did their grandparent's.

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Old 01/31/07, 11:25 AM
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In Il a 12 year old can become a certified babysitter but Ive heard she can be by herself till shes 14 so you have the situaltion that if shes watching over someone younger shes ok but if shes alone then not.I wonder if she had a party and claimed to be watching the other 12,to 17 year olds she could get away with it?
If a kid can go camp out on their own I guess they can stay by themselvesI camped out a lot at 12 but there would be a lot of kids in their 20s I wouldnt want to leave alone!

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Old 01/31/07, 01:23 PM
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Well here in Missouri my DD left home at 15 and there wasn't nothing I could do about it.So I would say its ok around here.

I know I have a neighbor lives on past me.I called over there one day.The kids told me their folks wasn't there.I told their folks what they said.Thought maybe its best they said their folks couldn't come to the phone.They agreed.

big rockpile

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Old 01/31/07, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big rockpile

I know I have a neighbor lives on past me.I called over there one day.The kids told me their folks wasn't there.I told their folks what they said.Thought maybe its best they said their folks couldn't come to the phone.They agreed.

big rockpile
Very good idea! I wonder how one would find their local laws about such things? I stayed home alone alot at 9 or so, we lived in the country, and if I was home sick, I would stay home wile my mom drove the school bus, or, even when she went shopping or something. Nowadays, I worry about perverts coming, or some busybody "reporting" you for leaving the kids home for a bit. I would be a nervous wreck to leave mine home alone, ages 12 & 4.
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Old 01/31/07, 03:35 PM
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My son is almost 17 and I don't leave him alone at home at night - he goes to his grandmothers or to a friends house if I have to be away..just too much opportunity for "excitement" and no need to "invite opportunity to knock" if you know what I mean. He's a good boy and has never caused me one minute of trouble, but then again, maybe it's because I try to keep trouble from knocking.

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Old 01/31/07, 03:38 PM
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I live in WI. There is NO law regarding the age which a juvenile can be left alone. Call the Social Services Department for your County and ask. I have, and have been told that if the parent believes the child can care for themeselves, or others, then it is OK. Just as long as a 7 yr old is not caring for an infant or something like that. It's basically up to the parent. Give them a call.

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Old 01/31/07, 03:42 PM
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Well....I graduated from high school and was off to college while still 17. Should I have been allowed to be by myself? (Probably not as I had a permanent hangover through much of college....) Who would you say had been neglecting me though?

Kayleigh

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  #12  
Old 01/31/07, 04:46 PM
 
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I was just sitting here, thinking of what I did when my parents left me alone at home at 16 for a weekend. Oy vey!

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Old 01/31/07, 04:49 PM
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I got left alone for the weekend at 16 and for a week or so at 17 because I had a job. What did I get up to? NOTHING neighbor lady had my grandmother's phone number.

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  #14  
Old 01/31/07, 07:35 PM
 
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In KS there is no minimum age (per a police officer I've spoken to) - it is dependant on the "maturity" of the child.

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  #15  
Old 01/31/07, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidepasser
My son is almost 17 and I don't leave him alone at home at night - he goes to his grandmothers or to a friends house if I have to be away..just too much opportunity for "excitement" and no need to "invite opportunity to knock" if you know what I mean. He's a good boy and has never caused me one minute of trouble, but then again, maybe it's because I try to keep trouble from knocking.
Exactly!!!
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  #16  
Old 01/31/07, 08:12 PM
 
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I was left alone a lot. The problem wasn't with me, but the %#*^%$## cat-skinners who worked for my DF, who knew I was alone.
I would lock all the doors,leave all the lights on, then climb out the window & go to my friend's place.

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  #17  
Old 01/31/07, 08:15 PM
 
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When my Father told me to stay home. I stayed home. But that was 1/2 Century ago.
I don't know about today. But, I do know that when I was raising my 4 children, after divorce, and I needed to go somewhere, I told them to stay home and "take care of the place". They did. They made some minor mistakes, but NO SERIOUS PROBLEMS!The oldest (at the beginning of the "single-parent thing" was 11 years old and the youngest was 6).

I guess it depends on the FAMILY. I didn't give a "hoot" about whether it was "legal" or "illegal"! It was MY FAMILY and I TRUSTED THEM. The rest of the world has their OWN PROBLEMS! Maybe they should forget looking at other people's difficulties and CONCENTRATE on SOLVING THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS. (Our problems are NOT always the SAME!)

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