Kids left at home alone as mum parties

Daily Post (Rotorua) 10th March 2010

A Rotorua mother who left her two young sons home alone while she went out drinking for the night to celebrate her birthday has been fined for leaving them unsupervised. Katherine Ariana Brown, 29, was fined $150 and ordered to pay $130 when she appeared before Judge Chris McGuire for sentencing in the Rotorua District Court yesterday on two charges of leaving the boys aged 5 and 9 without adult supervision. But the director of lobby group Family First, Bob McCoskrie, told the Daily Post a fine would not solve the problem and Brown needed ongoing monitoring. Judge McGuire originally planned to remand Brown for a pre-sentence report to help the court determine if there were any issues which needed addressing as to why the children were left unsupervised. However, Brown’s lawyer Olivia Brittain told the court the only penalty which could be imposed was a fine.

..Following Brown’s sentencing, Mr McCoskrie told the Daily Post this was a case of neglect where there could have been really serious consequences. “I would have expected at least some ongoing monitoring,” he said. “It has been shown nationally that we are not very good at monitoring parents on an ongoing basis when parents have quite obviously stepped over the line.” Children should never be left unsupervised, especially young children, Mr McCoskrie said. “These were very young kids, she got home really late. The potential for a really bad consequence was there,” he said. “A $150 fine doesn’t solve the problem at all. We need to ensure the safety of the children, have some ongoing monitoring. It may have been a one-off but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”