House unanimously passes bill to let Illinois parents leave teens home alone

Leave Teens At Home

| Photo courtesy of Illinois Policy

Parents of kids under 14 are one step closer to legally deciding when it’s safe to leave their children home alone.

The Illinois House unanimously passed a bill amending the child abandonment statute. House Bill 4305 instead lets parents determine maturity based on the individual child, not a minimum age.

Illinois’ minimum age of 14 is the highest age in the nation, and 39 states have no minimum at all. They leave that decision up to parents.

State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, introduced the bill back in December after multiple families reached out saying the law puts them in a bind.

“People who have talked to me say, ‘I have a 13-year-old and I want to leave them alone for a half an hour between when I have to go to work and when they have to go to school.’ It is very extreme the way the law is written right now,” Scherer said.

Parents know their children better than anyone, which is why Scherer’s bill gives parents the deserved authority over when their kids are mature enough to be unsupervised. The bill now moves to the Illinois Senate.

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