Lancaster Online: Keeping Kids Safe in Our Communities

Lancaster County’s youngest citizens are celebrating the end of the school year and the start of summer break. The summer season is a joyful time, but it can raise safety concerns. We all — parents, guardians, neighbors and community members — share the responsibility of ensuring a safe, secure environment in which kids can thrive and create unforgettable summer memories.

We must remain vigilant about protecting kids in our communities. If you’re concerned about children left alone over the summer, build a relationship with the parents and kids, organize activities and share information about community programs. The key is to watch out for the kids and maintain open communication.

Parents and caretakers may worry about leaving their kids home alone, and this feeling is perfectly normal.

In Pennsylvania, there isn’t a specific legal age for when kids can be left unsupervised. Deciding if your children are ready to stay home alone depends on several factors, such as their age, maturity, cognitive abilities and how long they will be by themselves.

Set clear rules and provide instructions, such as “don’t answer the door,” and resources such as a list of emergency contacts and an emergency plan. Before making it a regular practice, conduct a “test run” to ensure your kids are prepared to stay home alone safely.

As parents, neighbors or concerned citizens, we must all work together to keep Lancaster’s kids safe and their summer filled with happy memories. That’s why the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance promotes The Front Porch Project, a community-based initiative to raise awareness and empower neighbors to prevent abuse and neglect.

Learn more about The Front Porch Project at And if you suspect something is wrong, contact Pennsylvania’s ChildLine at 800-932-0313 for help.

Angela Liddle

President and CEO

PA Family Support Alliance

From Lancaster Online, June 8, 2024

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