Home Alone Tips

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"Daycare is huge issue; it's very expensive. Two weeks is a major chunk especially if you don't make a large income in the first place.”

Kim Wilson is a social worker with the Department For Community Based Services. She says beginning in early may and throughout school breaks, the most frequent call she gets is, "Is my child old enough to stay home alone?"

"That’s not such an easy question to answer because state law does not set a minimum age. But the state does offer guidelines for parents to follow when considering whether to leave a child alone.

For example:

How mature is your child? Does he or she listen and follow instructions?

Do they know what to do in an emergency and is there access to a phone?

How close is an adult? What is the length of time you'll be gone.

Wilson says the department receives multiple calls daily during the summer months about kids being left home alone. Nationally, she says four of every ten calls are substantiated. It can result in the parent being placed on a child abuse register or even faced with criminal charge.

Since the ultimate goal is to keep kids safe this summer, Wilson says it's up to the parents to make good decisions. The Department For Community Based Services will work with parents on finding resources, coordinating schedules and getting financial assistance in order to avoid putting children in danger. For more information call 746-7227.

The Family Enrichment Center also offers respite child care for parents who have not other support. For more information call 270-781-6714.