Police in Nashville, Tennessee arrested a 23-year-old woman on charges of child neglect after she reported she left her child home alone. The woman was charged with felony child neglect and remains in jail on a $5,000 bond.
On November 25, detectives with the police's Youth Services Division responded to the mother's report of her missing son. The woman reported him missing around 5:20 a.m., on November 25.
The woman was taken to the police department, where she told them she had been out drinking the night before and returned home at 4:00 a.m., only to realize that she had forgotten her wallet. So, she left to get it, and returned home just after 5:00 a.m. to discover her son was missing.
Officers found the boy in a parking lot about a mile away from home. They said he was in pajamas but without shoes. Alicia Patton "Mother charged with child neglect after leaving 3-year-old home alone" https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/nashville/mother-charged-with-child-neglect-after-leaving-3-year-old-home-alone/ (Nov. 27, 2023).
Commentary and Checklist
Child neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, in 2019, there were at least 656,000 maltreated children in the U.S. Of this total, 61 percent were solely victims of neglect.
Child neglect can include lack of appropriate supervision to the degree a child's health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm.
In the U.S., some states have laws about the specific minimum age requirement to be left home alone, and others do not. There are 36 states that do not have a minimum age requirement. Those states with a minimum age requirement for a child to be left home alone have an age range of at least eight to 12 years old.
Child neglect can also include physical (failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, or other physical necessities), emotional (failure to provide love, affection, or comfort), educational (failing to provide access to education), and medical neglect (failing to provide needed medical care).
Safe adults who have, or who work with children, can help protect children and have them get the assistance they need by being observant as to the signs of possible neglect.
What are the signs of possible child neglect safe adults should know? [rt]
· The parent or caregiver ignores the child's physical, emotional, medical/dental, psychological, or educational needs.
· The child is born addicted to drugs.
· Family lives in poverty or homelessness and cannot or will not care for the child.
· The parent or caregiver does not bond with the child and lacks parenting skills.
· The parent suffers from mental illness or was abused or neglected as a child.
· The child is living in inadequate housing without sufficient food, water, and heat and is improperly dressed for the weather.
· Child is dirty, in poor physical health, dental disease, and always hungry.
· Child is left unsupervised.
· Illegal drugs and/or firearms are present in the home.
· The child has excessive absences at school.
· The child displays low self-esteem, depression, a need for constant affection and attention or is withdrawn and unable to form bonds.
· The child is left alone for extended periods of time or is caring for younger siblings.
· Child is forced from the home or abandoned.