Republicans pass laws for several reasons: To give handouts to the wealthy, destroy the environment, and shame the poor. A new law out of Illinois hits another favorite target of the GOP: Single moms and the working poor.
In what might be the most ridiculous and restrictive law of all time, Illinois has decided that parents who leave children under 14 home alone can be charged with neglect. The police can enter your home without a warrant on a mere report, take your children, and arrest you.
Most states have a similar law, but most states don’t specify an age. Three states set the bar at 12 years old, three at 8, and Kansas says 6, but more than 30 don’t have a sweeping generalization on a particular age, as circumstances can be different from household to household.
Illinois has the shortest school day in the nation. Working single moms in particular may be in the situation where their 13-year-old, which is an acceptable age for a babysitter in most states, is responsible for the care of younger siblings until a parent comes home from work.
What this basically amounts to is yet another attack on working families, who would be forced to pay for child care for perfectly capable teenagers. The law states that children under 14 can’t be left home for “an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that minor,” but doesn’t specify how long that time is, leaving a wide area of discretion for state social workers and police to determine who is a criminal and who is not.
It’s possible that people in more affluent areas would fall under intense scrutiny as well, but yeah…probably not. This incredibly biased law can be filed under “what the hell were you thinking?”
Featured Image: Today’s Parent