By: S. Wooten | Counter Current News –
A new Illinois law is threatening parents who leave their children home alone if they are 13-years-old or younger. The new Illinois law states that parents who leave 13-year-olds home are guilty of neglect, and subject to arrest, as well as their children being taken away by police.
The new law states that “any minor under the age of 14 years whose parent or other person responsible for the minor’s welfare leaves the minor without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that minor” is now considered “neglected.”
This is the strictest law related to child neglect in the entire nation. Most states do not have a minimum age for leaving children home alone.
In three states, 12 is set as the minimum age. Once you are a teenager, even they say you are old enough to be left home alone.
Three other states set the bar at 8-years-old. Kansas says 6 is the minimum age. But more than 30 states say it is all very relative and the State should not define neglect based upon a sweeping generalization of age.
The Illinois law says that any child left home “without supervision” for “an unreasonable period of time” is being left “without regard for his or her mental or physical, health, safety or welfare.”
The law, seemingly intentionally, neglects to define “unreasonable period of time” or “regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare.” This way, police get to discriminate and determine who they think is being “unreasonable.” Do you think they will make this call in affluent areas or poor ones?
The law was written to discriminate against those communities which are already disempowered.
Furthermore, the law says that taken children away can be done by police without a warrant.
Even if a court later decides that the parents were in the right, the damage to the children and family has already been done. As well, it puts the onus on innocent parents to prove their innocence, based on police subjectively deciding that they think a 13-year-old left at home is being “neglected.”
Nearly all 13-year olds are capable of being left at home while their parents are at work or run out to the store. This law disproportionally targets single-parent households, where one parent is unable to stay at home with a child in this case. As well, lower-income households in general seem to be the target of the legislation.
As this is in Illinois, it is worth noting that Chicago Public Schools have the shortest school days in the nation. This would mean that the working poor would have to fork over money for daycare for their 13-year-olds, or face arrest and having their children taken away. Put simply, this is absurd.
(Article by S. Wooten; image of Erica May Carey being arrested while her children are taken away via King 5 News, used for illustrative purposes; h/t to Illinois Policy)