State Laws And Let Grow Updates in Illinois

State Laws And Let Grow Updates in Illinois

In 2023, Illinois amended its juvenile court law to clarify that children’s independent activities are not neglect.  The law was passed in part to clarify a widespread misunderstanding of Illinois law as limiting the ability of children under the age of 14 to be unsupervised.

State Laws And Let Grow Updates in Illinois

State Laws And Policies

Criminal Law:

Illinois Criminal Code at 720 ILCS 5/12C-5 provides that it is criminal endangerment to put children in circumstances that put their life or health in danger. 720 ILCS 5/12C-10 makes abandonment of a child for over 24 hours a crime. Children unattended for more than 10 minutes in a car if under six years old are considered endangered under this section unless accompanied by someone 14 or older.

Juvenile Court | Child Protective Services | Neglect Law:

705 ILCS 405/2-3, which contains the Illinois definition of neglect that operates in juvenile court cases has eliminated the widely misunderstood provision that had been interpreted as preventing children under the age of 14 from being unsupervised. (In fact, this age limit set a ceiling on when parents could be charged with neglect but did not state that all acts of leaving a child unsupervised amounted to neglect).  Illinois law now provides that allowing a child to engage in independent activities is not neglect unless the parent leaves the minor without supervision under conditions that constitute an “unreasonable risk” of harm. 705 ILCS 405/2-3-1.5. There are many factors listed in the law that affect what is considered “reasonable.” 705 ILCS 405/2-3-1(d).  Under the Illinois Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, neglect due to lack of supervision should only be found if a parent blatantly disregards an obvious danger. 325 ILCS 5/3.  As a result of litigation, Illinois rules defining inadequate supervision create tight definitions of each of the possible ways children can be left alone outside, in the community, at home, in vehicles and with caregivers. 89 Ill. Admin. Code 300/74.


This webpage is not a legal document, and Let Grow does not take responsibility for the content. Be mindful that some localities have rules and guidelines even when the state does not. When in doubt, consult your local authorities to confirm the laws where you live. What’s more, laws change, as do judicial interpretations of them, and this webpage may not be updated immediately.

Nationwide State Laws And Policies

Learn More About Laws And Policies In Other States

Right now, most states’ neglect laws are incredibly open-ended. They say things like, “Parent must provide proper supervision.” We agree! But people have different ideas of what that entails. Select a state below to learn more about their laws, policies and how Let Grow is helping.