Home alone? Illinois lawmakers want to lower age - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Home alone? Illinois lawmakers want to lower age

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UPDATED: March 11, 2019 6:21 p.m. 

WSIL -- Illinois has the strictest rules when it comes to leaving children home alone. 
Parents can be investigated for child neglect if a child under the age of 14 is found home without supervision. 

News 3 posted on Facebook asking for reaction to a bill that would lower the age to 12. 
"I think its a good idea, for the simple fact that, it is hard now days to find someone who is reliable," said viewer Lindsey Reams.

Reams has a 12-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son. 

She says her daughter is mature enough to watch her younger brother, especially if an adult is nearby. 

"I have neighbors that are home all the time that would keep an eye out on them if I needed them to," said Reams. 

Holly Duckworth also reached out, saying this bill would help her family. Her two grandchildren are 13 and 10. The 13-year-old goes home after school by himself but his younger sister has to stay in an after school program. 

"She can't go home with her brother because she's not old enough, although she is mature enough," said Duckworth. 
Representative Terri Bryant co-sponsors the bill. She says she supports it because Southern Illinois families often cannot find after-school programs or afford child care. 
"We know how difficult it is to get babysitters. We also know that we have some kids that are pretty mature," said Rep. Bryant. 

She says the bill would also open up opportunities for mature 12 and 13-year-olds to make money babysitting. 

Bryant expects this bill will keep moving forward.

"I don't really see anything that's going to cause this to get stalled. If it does, I can't imagine what it would be," said Rep. Bryant. 

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has recommendations online to help parents preparing Children to Stay Home Alone. For their tips, click here.

WSIL -- A new bill would change the age children can be left home alone in Illinois.

Currently, state law says children under the age of 14 cannot be left home alone without supervision for "an unreasonable period of time." House Bill 2334 would lower that age from 14 to 12.

The proposal passed the Illinois House Judiciary Committee unanimously on March 5. 

Rep. Terri Bryant of Murphysboro is a sponsor of bill. 

Look for more on HB2334 tonight on News 3 at 6:30 p.m. 

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