The Safety Zone
Division of Family and Children Services Supervision Guidelines:
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For children in parental custody:
- Children (8) eight years or younger should not be left alone;
- Children between the ages of (9) nine years and (12) twelve years, based on level of maturity, may be left alone for brief (less than two hours) periods of time; and
- Children (13) thirteen years and older, who are at an adequate level of maturity, may be left alone and may perform the role of babysitter, as authorized by the parent, for up to twelve hours.
For children in Foster Care(Foster Home Setting)
Children in foster care who have experienced abuse or neglect may require a higher level of supervision than children who have not experienced maltreatment. Conversely, DFCS also has a responsibility to move children in foster care toward independence. Therefore, while DFCS will allow children in foster care to be home alone, the acceptable age where this can occur is different than that of children who are not in foster care. As such, the following rules apply to children in foster care:
- Children in DFCS custody are not permitted to babysit;
- Reliable and competent youth (14) fourteen years and older may be left under their own supervision under certain circumstances that have been previously agreed upon and documented by the Social Services Case Manager, Supervisor, and placement provider;
- Youth who are 14 and older may be eligible for the Independent Living Program (ILP) and the development of a Graduated Independence Plan (GIP) that will allow the youth to engage in unsupervised age appropriate activities. The GIP must be developed in conjunction with the youth, the youth’s parent/caregiver (when applicable), SSCM, Supervisor, and placement provider.