New Bill Would Lower IL Home Alone Age For Juveniles to 12

By Benjamin Cox on January 24, 2022 at 4:50pm

A new Illinois law filed last month would lower the age a child can stay at home alone without parents being arrested for negligence.

Under current law, a child must be 14 before they can be left home alone by a parent or guardian. House Bill 4305 filed by 96th District Democrat Sue Scherer of Decatur would lower that age down to 12.

Scherer told the Center Square that she has had constituents in her district reach out to her about lowering the age because it is causing stress on working families with childcare costs and scheduling. Parents who currently leave their child alone under the age of 14 are subject to child abandonment charges, a Class 4 felony. A sentence could vary between probation and three years in prison, plus a $25,000 fine.

The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Criminal Subcommittee. Scherer told the Center Square that she expects the bill to pass next month when the General Assembly returns to session.