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I would like to know if I can leave my 11 y.o. son after…

Hello, I would like...

Hello, I would like to know if I can leave my 11 y.o. son after school alone at home for 3 hours?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

I have a family las question

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Just to decide if I can do or not

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/10/2018
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,622
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Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. Most states don't have laws on this issue, but as every state is different, can you tell me what state this is in, please?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Illinois

Thank you for the additional information.

As I thought, there's no specific state (or federal) law on this issue in Illinois. There are other laws regarding leaving children alone, as I'll discuss, but none of them apply to your specific situation.

Federal and Illinois law mostly leave parents and guardians free to care for their children as they want. In certain situations, though, criminal and child welfare laws could punish you for abandoning or neglecting your child. But even those laws leave the police and DCFS (Illinois Department of Children and Family Services) a lot of choice in deciding what to do.

Two criminal laws specifically deal with kids who are left alone. One says that leaving a child “6 years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle for more than 10 minutes” may be child endangerment. Unattended means that the child is not with someone who is at least 14 years old, or that the child is out of that person’s sight. Child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor(possible 1 year in jail and $1,000 fine).

There is also a DCFS rule that says licensed day care providers can't leave children under 18 in cars by themselves.

The Illinois Criminal Code also makes child abandonment a Class 4 felonmy, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. If you’ve already been guilty of child abandonment in the past, a second offense is a Class 3 felony. The law says child abandonment is knowingly leaving a child under the age of 13 alone without a responsible person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more while ignoring that child’s mental or physical health, safety, or well-being.

Again, none of these apply to your situation, so you're okay to leave your son alone for a period after school, so long as you believe that he has the maturity to be left alone and knows how to handle himself. It would of course still be a good idea to have him check in with you when he gets home and perhaps make sure there is a neighbor or someone nearby in case an emergency arises, but leaving him alone for a few hours will not result in criminal action against you.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
my second question is - can he go to the park playground alone?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you very much for your response!

Pretty much the same answer - no specific state law addresses this. It's not abandonment or any other criminal act, so this is more of a personal choice and how comfortable you feel in letting him go alone. I know I used to do that as a child his age all the time, but that was 30 years ago, and sadly the world is a much different place!

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And you're very welcome. It's my pleasure, and I appreciate the opportunity to help. Once we've concluded our discussion, I'd appreciate if you'd remember to leave a positive rating by clicking on the stars at the top of the page so that I am credited by the website for my time and assistance today. Thank you.

RobertJDFL
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you again, you are very helpful!

Thank you! It's nice to hear that. All the best to you and your son. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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