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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The kids are all right

I did not know this about Indiana law:

The law on neglect in Indiana doesn't state a definitive age for when a child can be left alone, she said.

"As far as minimum age it really isn't one," she said. "It depends on the maturity level of the child. As long as everything works out OK there isn't a problem. We don't get involved until something occurs. It's very subjective.

"It is really the decision of the parents as to what the competency level of the child left in charge is."

Parents are assumed to be the best judges of what constitutes a safe environment for their children unless the agency is given reason to think otherwise, she said.

So, you can leave your kids by themselves, no matter how young they are, and if nothing bad happens, fine and dandy. If something bad happens, what, that's prima facie evidence the kids shouldn't have been left alone and you're in trouble? While it's generally good to leave parents n charge as "the best judges of what constitutes a safe environment," I like my laws to draw a brighter line. It's supposed to give us clear directions on what is allowed and what is not. Imagine: There is no set age for when someone can begin driving a car. We judge it based on the maturity level of the specific individual. Yeah, that would work.