Is it a Good Idea For Illinois Parents to Leave Kids Home Alone at 12 Years Old?
Could the legal age that parents can leave their kids home alone be changing soon in Illinois?
The Big Babysitter Problem
Any parent with young kids knows finding babysitters when you want or need to go somewhere is often a huge pain in the rear. Not only does it cost a lot, but some teens today are, should we say, less than responsible.
My husband and I are blessed that our kids have 2 sets of grandparents that are more than happy to watch them when we can't, but we often feel guilty asking, so off we go on the search to find a babysitter. We have now approached the age where many of our friends have kids close to babysitting age, but what is that age exactly?
What Is the Legal Age to Leave Kids Home Alone in Illinois?
In case you didn't know, Illinois has the strictest Latchkey Law of any other state in the nation. Current Illinois law states that parents who leave children under the age of 14 home alone or unattended outside can be found guilty of neglect, but that age limit might be getting lowered, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
According to illinoispolicy.org, State Representative Sue Scherer introduced a bill back in December 2021 that would lower the minimum age for leaving kids home alone from 14 to 12 years old. Representative Scherer is quoted as saying;
“I have lots of constituents who have reached out to me about this, it’s causing a lot of hardship on our working families.”
I totally get how much easier it would be for working families if they didn't have to worry about who will watch their kids after school if they had a 12-year-old child able to watch them, but...the pessimist side of me still worries that many 12-year-olds still can't handle the responsibility.
Perhaps Illinois should be like 39 other states in our nation that have no minimum age limit for leaving kids home alone, but instead, leave the choice up to each individual family?