Unattended Children

Description: According to the Law Q&A in the News-Gazette on May 13, 2007 written by John Roska, two criminal laws specifically deal with unattended children. One says that leaving a child “6 years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle for more than 10 minutes“ is child endangerment. “Unattended“ means not accompanied by someone at least 14 years old, or out of that person‘s sight. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor with the possibility of one year in jail and a $1000 fine.

There‘s also a DCFS rule that says licensed day-care providers can‘t leave children under 12 in vehicles unattended.

The Illinois criminal code makes “child abandonment“ a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison. It‘s child abandonment, the law says, to knowingly leave a child “under the age of 13 without supervision by a responsible person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more.“ The law lists 15 factors to consider, like the child‘s age and special needs, whether they were left entirely alone, and whether they had an emergency number to call.

Under the Juvenile Court Act, it‘s child neglect to leave a minor under 14 years of age “without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that minor.”

Source: News-Gazette
Section C-5 on 5/13/07
“Law on Unattended Children isn‘t Absolute”
Written by John Roska: The Law Q&A
Date Last Revisited: 5/17/07