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20 Mar, 2008 20:17

Parents of ‘home alone’ kids could be fined

The government is considering new child safety laws. One measure being considered is to fine parents who leave children under 14 without supervision. The goal of the law is to keep children safe, but some fear the measure will hit working families as hard

Like everywhere else, children in Russia rely on their parents for protection and support – but not all of them get it.

So the State Duma is considering new proposals to fine parents who leave their kids unsupervised. The idea is to hit offending parents hard in the pocket.

Vladimir Markin from the General Prosecutor's Office has called for the elimination of conditions ‘that leave children at risk of violent crimes’.

But some children's rights workers say the law must recognise the difference between the negligent and those whose children spend time alone while their parents are working to support them.

They say the State must support working families – not punish them.

A real life example

Katya is thirteen and sometimes walks home from school alone and returns to an empty apartment.

Both her parents work full-time to fund the family’s modest lifestyle in a single room apartment. Katya thinks she’s old enough to take care of herself.

However, her mum Layla is home as soon as she finishes work. And often before her daughter – as Katya's school organises extensive after-school activities.

Layla says more should follow suit. Katya goes to dance classes and can stay at school to do her homework.