Children Home Alone
As children grow older, many families struggle to decide when their child is mature enough to stay home alone and care for themselves or for other children. This decision often causes concerns about appropriate supervision and child neglect. The following resources provide tips to parents making the decision to leave their child home alone and address issues around supervision and neglect, including State and local examples.
|Leaving Your Child Home Alone|
|Series Title:||Factsheets for Families|
|Author(s):||Child Welfare Information Gateway
|Availability in English:||View
Download (PDF - 332KB)
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|Availability in Spanish:||View
Download (PDF - 394KB)
|Year Published:||2013 - 6 pages|
|Discusses the factors parents must consider when deciding whether their child is ready to be left home alone, as well as tips to help make the experience safe and successful for all. Resources for more information and links to State guides also are included.|
Know the Rules: For Children Who Are Home Alone (PDF - 319 KB)
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (2004)
Lists important factors for parents to consider before allowing a child to be unsupervised after school.
Children Caring for Themselves and Child Neglect: When Do They Overlap? (PDF - 101 KB)
Zielewski, Malm, & Geen (2006)
Considers how child welfare agencies respond to reports of children taking care of themselves and how they determine whether unsupervised children are victims of neglect. The report includes the prevalence and definitions of self-care, the significance of lack of supervision to child protection agencies, reasons families leave children unattended, and more.
Left Unsupervised: A Look at the Most Vulnerable Children (PDF - 237 KB)
Vandivere, Tout, Capizzano, & Zaslow (2003)
Examines the prevalence of self-care among young school-aged children and low-income children and the circumstances of children who spend part of their day without adult supervision.
State and local examples
Children Home Alone
Fairfax County (Virginia) Department of Family Services (2008)
Presents standards developed by social work professionals for the supervision of children ages 8 to 17.
Determination of Children's Supervision, Self-Care, and/or Care for Others
District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency (2008)
View Abstract and Document
Recommends guidelines for determining when a child can be left at home alone to self-care or care for others, addressing age, maturity level, time of day, and length of time.
Home Alone: Is Your Child Ready? (PDF - 427 KB)
Allegheny County, PA, Department of Human Services (2010)
Helps parents determine if their child is ready to be left home alone and provides tips to help children be home alone safely.