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Update to “Leaving Children Home Alone in Oregon”

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In addition to Laura’s most recent post on leaving children home alone, June 15, 2009, and our newly updated Kids Home Alone in Oregon legal research guide, here are a few websites with information and resources on leaving children home alone and child care:

1) “Babysitting Basics” class from the Oregon Red Cross:

“Designed for youth ages 8 to 11, this two-and-a-half-hour Red Cross course prepares children to respond safely to a variety of situations when direct parent supervision is unavailable”

The Oregon Red Cross does not condone leaving your children home alone, in fact they explicitly state the Oregon neglect law, but they offer the class to prepare children for emergency situations. You can register for the class online or by phone.

2)Employment Related Day Care (ERDC). The Oregon Department of Human Services provides financial assistance with child care costs for working families whose income is below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level. Initially set to expire in July 2010, funding was extended to 2011. However, although the Oregon Legislative Emergency Board voted to add money to the program’s funds in December 2010, enrollment is capped at 10,000 families. See the ERDC website for FAQs about the service cuts.

3)Backgound Brief on Child Care from the Oregon State Legislature’s Committee Services Office. This brief, from June 2010, provides information on child care facilities, child care resources in Oregon, and staff and agency contact information.

4) Leaving Your Children Home Alone. This factsheet from the Child Welfare Information Gateway, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, provides information to consider when deciding whether or not your child can or should be left alone.

Leaving Children Alone in Cars:

As a Texan recently transplanted to Oregon, I appreciated this NPR report on a Texas couple whose car was stolen with their toddler in the backseat. After leaving their car unlocked and walking away:

“A homeless man jumped in [the running car] and drove off. But he hadn’t bargained for the toddler. He brought it back and yelled at the couple for leaving the child in the car.”

Texas does have a statue regarding leaving children alone in vehicles, a Class C misdemeanor: Texas Penal Code section 22.10. Oregon does not have a statue specifically addressing leaving children alone in cars, the neglect statute has been applied as seen in the previously cited State v. Obeidi, 211 Or App 377, but there are a number of resources with information on unattended children and vehicles:

1) Children and Cars: A Potentially Lethal Combination from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA)has a section on unattended children in vehicles and appendices containing state statutes related to child endangerment.

2)Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car from Safe Kids USA and the related video Why You Never Leave Your Child Alone.