At what age can a child be left home alone when we are at work?
Arizona's statutes (laws) do not designate an age when a child can be left alone. A parent is responsible for the decisions he or she makes about their children being left alone. The law does require however, that the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Department of Child Safety (DCS) investigate reports of neglect which include failure to provide supervision that places a child at unreasonable risk of harm. Leaving children alone is included in the category of supervision.
DCS will take a report when a child, who is not capable of caring for him or herself or other children, is left alone. When calls come into DCS, specific questions are asked to help determine if there is a problem for the child. These may include: Does the child know how to reach the parent? Does the child know how to get emergency help? Is there a neighbor to go to? Is someone checking in on the child?
Sometimes police are called to the home. Before removing children, police will often try to make contact with the parent or other responsible person to come and supervise the children. The police are required to report this information to DCS. This could result in a DCS Specialist contacting the children and parent about the report and making an assessment of any needed services. Parents must use good judgment about their children's capabilities, as they are ultimately responsible. We hope this helps in providing an answer to your question. If you need additional information or wish to speak to someone from DCS, call the Child Abuse Hotline: at 1-888-767-2445.