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to be concerned about 9 year old girl next door?

(10 Posts)
glitterchick Sun 05-Oct-08 16:26:09

It came to our attention over the summer hols that the 9 year old next door was being left in charge of herself, her 7 and 3 year old sisters for several hours on many occasions while mother worked and father went off God knows where. Now that summer hols are over she and her 7 year old sister had been coming home to empty house (3 yr old is in creche) for hour or 2 each evening until dad came home. The 7 year old is now in after school club but 9 year old has key to the house and is alone every day after school.

At the end of the day it is none of my business and I'm not going to interfere but how responsible would I be if anything happened to her or her sisters and I knew she was not being looked after? Outside of creche hours I know for sure that she is left in charge of the other 2 sisters while parents are out. I have said to her that if she ever needs anything I'm next door. What else can you do? I sure wouldn't leave my 9 year old alone.

DoubleBluff Sun 05-Oct-08 16:29:21

You would not be responsible, but wouldn't you feel guilty if something happened to any of them.
A 9 yr old at home a lone for that amount of time is not right and she should not be responsible for younger siblings.
" I'm not going to interfere"
I really think you should at least report it to SSD.

Shitehawk Sun 05-Oct-08 16:30:34

Are you only concerned about how responsible you would be, or are you genuinely concerned for the children?

If you are genuinely concerned about their welfare then you have to do something. Too many children are neglected simply because other people think it's none of their business.

I'd start by contacting a HV as one of the children is under 5 and see what happens from there.

Sidge Sun 05-Oct-08 16:32:17

You wouldn't be responsible at all, the responsibility lies with her parents.

But I can see why you would be concerned. I think a quiet word with the parents (if possible) would be good. If they are not the sort that would take it with the intention it was meant, then Social Services would be interested. I have seen children put on the Child Protection register for similar (left caring for younger siblings, not for being left alone after school).

mumto2andnomore Sun 05-Oct-08 17:10:56

A 9 year old should not be left alone and you would feel awful if something happened.I would ring the NSPCC or social services, Im sure you can do it anon, I would.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 05-Oct-08 17:39:57

as there is no legal age to leave a child, its tricky

a child of 9 should not be in charge of younger children, so if there is no parents about when younger ones about,then yes call the ss

i personally wouldnt leave a child of 9 to be a latchkey kid, but that is the parents decision

wahwah Sun 05-Oct-08 18:15:02

...but you are responsible if you know about it imo and you have to ensure that the parents change their arrangements either by speaking to them, or contacting social services.

Unless neighbours are psychos I would start with them as it only seems fair and they're likely to guess it's you or another neighbour in any case.

noonki Sun 05-Oct-08 18:20:12

I would call SS for a 9 year old left in charge of a 3 year old,

my DSS struggles looking after my 3 year old on his own for even short periods.

I hold with the view that the welfare of children is everyones responsibilty not just the parents or the state's (as more often than not those 2 sources fail)

I would ring SS

Simplysally Sun 05-Oct-08 18:20:52

I thought a child had be 14 before they could be left alone? It's certainly unsuitable for a 9-yr old to be doing this on a regular basis (as a one-off for exceptional circs, it might be ok).

I don't know what to suggest other than contact social services or perhaps the child's school if you know what it is. They may have concerns already.

lljkk Sun 05-Oct-08 18:25:01

I don't see a problem with the 9yo alone after school, but supervising the 3yo for long periods is not on.

I still wouldn't phone SS, personally, though. (It would take active abuse for me to phone SS, but maybe that's just me). I'd be more likely to ask the 9yo if she needed any help and offer to be available to her at any time if she thinks she needs an adult's help.

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