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Children Services FAQs

  1. How old do you have to be to be left alone or watch other children?
  2. Can Children Services intervene in custody arrangements when you are not satisfied?
  3. What are the consequences of making a report about a child you feel is in danger, if the report is unfounded?
  4. What are the consequences of making a false report of child abuse or neglect?
  5. Can I find out who reported me?

 

1. How old do you have to be to be left alone or watch other children?

While there is no law that specifies when a child is old enough to be left alone or to watch other children, there are a few guidelines that may be helpful:

  • Make sure that when a child is left alone or babysitting, they can reach the parent or another responsible adult at all times, no matter what age they are.
  • The American Red Cross accepts children eleven (11) years of age and older for their babysitting classes. 
  • Infants and toddlers need to be monitored at all times.
  • Ensure that emergency numbers are accessible and that whomever is staying with a child knows the address of where they are.
  • If there is an incident at the home and the police or Children Services are notified, they have to use discretion and decide whether or not to charge a parent criminally or to act on the circumstances of any given situation. 

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2. Can Children Services intervene in custody arrangements when you are not satisfied?

In general, Children Services does not intervene in a private custody proceeding. If there are abuse or neglect issues, Children Services will make attempts to work with the family. If Children Services determines that a child is at risk in his or her home environment, the child may be removed from the home and placed in a approved home. 

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3. What are the consequences of making a report about a child you feel is in danger, if the report is unfounded?

There are no consequences when the report is made in good faith.

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4. What are the consequences of making a false report of child abuse or neglect?

Just as a person who makes a false police report can be charged criminally, a person can be charged for reporting a false allegation to Children Services. This is a misdemeanor in the first degree and punishable by fines and jail time.

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5. Can I find out who reported me?

While you may feel that you can pinpoint who a reporter may be, the law protects the confidentially of a reporter. Therefore a Children Services worker CANNOT reveal, confirm or deny who a reporter of any allegations may be. 

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