Children Home Alone
All parents eventually make the decision to leave their child home alone for the first time.
There is no agreed-upon age when a child can stay home alone safely.
Because children mature at different rates, you should not base your decision on age alone. (Source: childwelfare.gov).
Here are some resources to help you understand the law and what might be best in your situation.
What is the minimum age for a child to be home alone?
Wisconsin does not have statutes or regulations that state the age at which a child may be left unsupervised, or left in charge of other children. You may wish to review Wisconsin Statutes 948.20 "Abandonment of a child" and 948.21 "Neglecting a child". Please be aware that the courts may have further interpreted the language found in the Statutes.
I want to start the process to become an emancipated minor.
- At What Age Can a Child Legally be Left Alone? (U.S. Dept. Health & Human Services)
- Home Alone (Latchkey) Children (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry)
- Home alone: preparing for self care (UW Extension)
Checklists and general tips for families and children who stay home alone.
- Kids Home Alone (City of Madison Fire Department)
Guide to help you determine if your child is ready to be home alone.
- Leaving Your Child Home Alone (Child Welfare Info Gateway)
Library books & articles
Law Review Articles
- Home alone: Supervision after school and child behavior
Journal of public economics, 88(9-10), pp.1835-1848.
- Keeping the Free-Range Parent Immune from Child Neglect: You Cannot Tell Me How to Raise My Children
55 Fam. Ct. Rev. 152 (2017) [Available on Westlaw]