When Leaving Kids Home Alone in Pennsylvania Can Land You in Hot Water

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 13, 2024 | 0 Comments

In 2015, the Meitiv family made headlines when the parents allowed their children to walk home alone from a Maryland park a half mile from their home. Police picked the children up after people reported seeing them unsupervised and returned them home. But the family faced a well-publicized investigation from Child Protective Services, and the debate over when it's safe to leave kids alone has been raging across the country ever since. 

Chances are, growing up, you had much more freedom than today's children. For families with one parent or two working parents, kids often came home to an empty house, got their snacks, and started on homework and chores. But today, there's much debate about what children can do for themselves and at what age. Today's parents face more scrutiny from authorities when they leave children unattended, as a Pennsylvania man recently discovered after leaving his young children alone at home. If you're accused of child endangerment, you need the skilled Criminal Defense Team at the LLF Law Firm. Call them today at 888-535-3686 or go online to schedule your consultation. 

Pennsylvania Man Arrested for Child Endangerment 

In December 2023, a York County man left his three children, ages nine, five, and three, home alone. He told the kids he was going to dinner with co-workers but later told police he went to Target to shop for Christmas presents. One of the children called their mother on a tablet. Because she lived about two hours away, she called another child's mother, who contacted authorities and came to the house and took custody of the children. When the police arrived shortly after 6 pm, the children had been alone for about an hour and were unharmed, although the youngest needed to be changed, and their father hadn't left any dinner for the children. 

The police later received a phone call from the father after 10 pm, reporting that his children were missing. When police arrived, they discovered that the inspection tag on his car had expired, and his driver's license had been suspended. He claimed he'd only been gone for 50 minutes. Police charged the man with three felony counts of endangering the welfare of children and three summary offenses related to his car inspection and suspended license.  

When Can Kids Stay Home Alone? 

There is no set “legal” age at which children in Pennsylvania can stay home without adult supervision. Rather, you should assess your child's maturity and ability to handle the unexpected. Consider whether your child will be scared or anxious if left alone. Think about the time of day and how long you'll be gone. Finally, if you have more than one child at home, is the oldest child capable of caring for the others? 

You Need an Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Team 

If you're facing criminal charges after leaving your kids unsupervised, you don't have to figure this out alone. We've guided many Pennsylvania parents through the criminal justice system and can help you, too. Contact the LLF Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or online to schedule your consultation and find out how we can help. 

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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