My son Logan was pretty independent as a child, and his mother and I started leaving him home alone when he was 8. It never occurred to us that we could possibly be breaking Washington state law.

The good news is that we didn't break the law, but it did raise some eyebrows at the state Department of Social and Health Services a few years back. A caseworker gave us a call about our son being left home alone.

DSHS had stopped by our house, knocked on the door and heard Logan inside but he never came to the door. They called us asking if our son was home alone and we said only for a short time when our work schedules overlapped.

DSHS was checking on kids in the neighborhood because of a complaint of sexual abuse by a kid in the vicinity, but luckily Logan had never come into contact with the kid.

DSHS said they were impressed that Logan didn't answer the door and that the house was on total lockdown.

The caseworker told us that Washington didn't have a law in place on the minimum age that a child could be home alone, so they couldn't do anything. But the caseworker asked us to be vigilant concerning our son.

I remember walking a few blocks all by myself to get comic books from a drugstore when I was 8 years old, so I've always been a believer in the independence of a child -- within reason.

After talking it over with Michele and my current wife, though, it seems I might be in the minority. At what age do you think a child is old enough to be home alone without supervision?

Take the poll and tell us what you think -- we'll be talking about it in the morning.


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