A Prince William county man is charged with child endangerment for allegedly leaving a young family member alone.
Police officers found the 4-year-old girl alone inside a townhouse. Her cousin and care-provider, 27-year-old Yves Tchoukouani had reportedly gone to work and left the girl. When her siblings arrived at school they reportedly told someone in the office that the child was alone in the house.
Tchoukouani was later arrested by police and charged with felony reckless endangerment. No one answered the door at his home this afternoon.
A man who did not want to be identified says some neighbors in the Woodbridge community had been concerned for some time about the children in the home.
"We do see calls on the rise during the summertime months," said John Perok of the Prince William County Police.
Local libraries have seen an influx of children dropped off by parents for hours at a time. "We're very aware of that so the staff is very much on the lookout," said Dick Murphy, director of the Prince William county library system.
Infants to eights year olds should not be left alone at all, guidelines provided by the commonwealth state. Those ages 9 to 11 should spend no more than an hour and a half by themselves in daytime hours only.
Teenagers between 12 and 15 year olds can be left alone all day, but not during the nighttime. However, Officer Perok said those guidelines are often not followed.
"We find that a lot children are left unsupervised outside of parental care or guardian care," Perok said.
Parent Danyel Leftridge says leaving a child is a dangerous and desperate act.
"Unfortunately some parents don't feel like they have any other choice but to leave their children and the children are the ones who end up suffering," Leftridge said.