State Laws And Let Grow Updates in Montana

State Laws And Let Grow Updates in Montana

Montana Senator Kenneth Bogner initiated, and the Montana legislature passed, legislation that explicitly protects families who allow their children to engage in independent activities by declaring that these activities are not criminal offenses. Unfortunately, this legislation did not change Montana’s neglect law, which remains punitive. 

State Laws And Let Grow Updates in Montana

State Laws And Policies

Criminal Law:

Montana Code Annotated § 45 makes it a crime for anyone supervising the welfare of a child less than 18 years old to commit the offense of endangering the welfare of children by knowingly violating a duty of care, protection, or support.  However, the law was amended to state that it is not a violation of the duty of care to allow children to engage in independent activities consistent with the child’s intellectual, emotional, and physical maturity. The bill specifically allows children to remain in a vehicle for 15 minutes without the parents facing criminal charges. 

The Youth Court Act in Montana broadly defines “Physical neglect” as either failure to provide basic necessities, including general supervision, or exposing or allowing the child to be exposed to an unreasonable physical or psychological risk to the child. Mont. Code Ann. § 41-3-102(20). Some guidance in Montana’s child welfare brochure is good, however.  It says, “There is no magic age when children develop the maturity and good sense they need to stay home alone. Mature children in a neighborhood with several adult friends nearby may be all right alone for a few hours. For younger children, one hour may be too long. YOU need to decide if the time alone is too much, based on your child and your situation.” 


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.