Anna Mateo, 42, faces a reckless conduct charge for leaving four children ages 16 months to 5 years home alone on Oct. 2.

Anna Mateo, 42, faces a reckless conduct charge for leaving four children ages 16 months to 5 years home alone on Oct. 2.

 

A Brookhaven woman faces a charge of reckless conduct after leaving four children ages 5 and under home alone, police say.

Anna Mateo, 42, was arrested Oct. 2 by police when she returned home to the 1600 block of Briarwood Road, said Maj. Brandon Gurley, spokesman for the Brookhaven Police Department. A neighbor called police, he said.

The children ranged in age from 16 months old to 5 years old, Gurley said. Mateo was charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, and paid a $100 bond on Oct. 3 to get out of the DeKalb County Jail.

Under Georgia’s reckless conduct law, a person causes bodily harm to or endangers the safety of another person by consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his act or omission will cause harm or endanger the safety of the other person.

While Georgia does not have a law in place that describes at what age a child can be left unsupervised, the Department of Children and Family Services recommends no child under the age of 8 ever be left alone—even for short periods of time.

The DFACS director said on the website at http://dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov that leaving a child home alone should never be an easy decision, and many neglect cases could be avoided with more careful consideration.

Guidelines offered by DFACS recommend judging maturity on an individual basis for children ages 9 to 12, and children over the age of 13 can generally be left as babysitters.

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