A Davenport mother has been charged with a felony accusing her of going to work and leaving her 4-year-old daughter at home alone. 

April Benischek, 33, of 2931 W. 34th St., Unit E, was arrested Wednesday and charged with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person.

The charge is a Class C felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Police arrived at her house at 9:54 a.m. Wednesday after a complaint was made to the Iowa Department of Human Services that the child was left at home unattended.

Benischek, who has custody of her daughter, went to work and left the child at home alone, according to an arrest affidavit. Police claim Benischek was to leave the 4-year-old at home while she was at work until her other daughter, who is 8 years old, arrived home from school and could watch her until Benischek returned home at 5 p.m.

Police say that Benischek should have known that leaving a 4-year-old home alone would expose her to numerous possible hazards. The child wasn’t injured while she was home alone, police say.

(55) comments

Randogg420

Slow news day or what this story has been on here for some time

MamieC

I grew up in a nice older neighbordhood in Davenport in the 50's & 60's. A friend of mine was left home alone to care for an infant when she was 6. The mother worked and I don't think there was a father in the picture. I don't know what other options the mother had at the time, but my friend was instructed to stay in all day and not let anyone in the house. Apparently the neighbors knew about the situation and were there in case of an emergency. In retrospect I find it amazing what humans are capable of doing at a very young age. Have no idea if there were long term issues to either my friend or her little brother but these days her mother would surely be trouble with the law. Also, my parents were not aware of the situation as I only found out about it when my friend was 12 or so. Not sure what they would have done as it was a time of staying out of other people's business. They were more concerned with the families who had 10 to 15 kids that ran around the neighborhood unsupervised, wreaking havoc on the rest of us.

amberpalmer

As parent, we eventually faces the decision to leave our kids alone, when we really have to. However, when we decided to leave them, we need to make sure that they are properly trained to face all the possible danger that they may encounter. Keeping our children safe is our full responsibility. I'm a mother and I do almost everything to protect my son from getting hurt. That is why I provided him this mobile-based safety service for his protection. Just pressing a button he can notify and alert friends, family and myself. If needed, the call will be routed to the nearest 911 dispatch. Protect your kids too and check this out: https://login.safekidzone.com/mobilesafety/?a_aid=5130f12a083db&a_bid=37613964&c_id=98e84f07&refcode=RelentlessProtection#

Jva2009

There are programs that help with the cost of preschool. You have to go through the friendly house. It is for 3 and 4 year olds and they actually having openings right now. So yes you can get free preschool. Just have to research a little bit. It would have taken a whole couple of hours.

Randogg420

Lets get on thing straight dshs and cps are two broken agency's that don't work and cost children there lives there has to be abetter way

mist

Incarcerating or even fining the mom benefits no one. Incarceration costs the tax-payers, as we would have to support both her and her kids. Fining her takes money from her kids...and if she had tons of it, she'd have had daycare. Our money would be better spent increasing the options for single moms and families where both parents work. I'd rather see my taxes spent on free daycare centers than on prisons for people who meant well but got stuck between the rock and the hard place.

mondaymorning

I totally agree. Like I said earlier, it's not as easy as many think it is to find quality day care that is affordable.

twiggy
twiggy

She hasn't been either fined or sent to prison. I doubt she will be, sent to prison. But the purpose of the prosecution is not to "benefit" her, or the public. It is to deter her, or others from doing what she did, as well as to punish her. More than likely she will plead guilty to a misdemeanor, get time served, have to go to classes and be under the supervision of DHS for a period of time. Her life will not be destroyed, but possible be made better.


It is true that quality daycare can be very difficult to fine. But it is NEVER ok to leave a dependent person alone. NEVER! NEVER, under any circumstances. My guess, and it is only a guess, if she had a good explanation DHS would have worked with her and possibly not gotten the police involved. But that is just an opinion.

Barcath19

Simply being too proud to ask for a "handout" does not excuse endangering a child's life. It is your job as a mother to do WHAT IT TAKES to ensure that your child is safe. I can't believe anyone is defending this woman. Swallow your pride and make sure your child is cared for.

mondaymorning

I totally agree that the mother needs to do what it takes, but you underestimate the struggles that some moms go through. Do you know her situation? I really wish this mother would have made a different choice, and I don't know her. I can only assume that she had a difficult decision to make. Maybe, for her, she chose to work so she could feed her daughter. You are living in a bubble if you think people who end up here are just 'too proud.'

Barcath19

Simply being too

Santony25

Familyman, no sorry not "free preschool" but I do have a special needs child so therefore for him it was "free" my 2 other children.... I paid.

Family man

Obviously you have not tried to get a child in to "free preschool". Sometimes people make too much money to qualify for the free, but they don't make enough to pay for child care which causes a lot of people to opt to not work thus burdening us taxpayers. It is a vicious cycle. What is your answer for single moms trying to make it and not ask for handouts?

Santony25

Just about any elementary school that has a preschool offers free preschool for those that apply and qualify. All anyone needs to do is call around and fill out the forms.

yowolf

Could you tell me exactly where the free preschool is you know about?

yowolf

Could you tell me exactly where the free preschool is you know about?

gcgphoto

It is hard to state an exact age. A 10 year old could be very mature for their age. While a 14 year old may not be. A handicapped person regardless of age, in my opinion, should not be left alone.

I do feel that there is no way a 4 year should be left alone. however, what if the child is outside playing with other children. there are so many variables. I just think the mother used poor judgement in this situation!

Santony25

So if no law- should a new born be home alone? Shoot it just sleeps all day;)

Family man

I don't have the answer, but I agree with Iowa liitledog. If there is no law, there is no crime.

concernedmommy
concernedmommy

This child is 4. She should be in preschool. They have free preschool programs; headstart, public school. The state also pays or helps pay a majority of those expenses incured. What is happening to this mother she deserves every bit of!! It is her responsibility to make sound decsions and ensure the safety of her children. She failed to do so. As a mother it is us who are supposed to sacrifice not our babies, and especially not at the extent of their lives. SMH SAD. I am ashamed to even read some of the post that are trying to be a voice of reason for her.

iowalittledog

Okay it seems no one wants to answer the question. What age is okay to leave a child alone? I contacted DHS back in 2000 and they said it was okay for 7 year old to left alone. There needs to be a clear cut law, You don't give the police the power to invent laws. We know what robbery is, we know what theft is, In this case there is not such law, I challenge ANYONE to show me the law where it is okay to leave a child at home alone at even 12. Come on I'm waiting

twiggy
twiggy

You are again demonstraiting your lack of understand of how things work. DHS and the police are not interchangeable. DHS investigates child abuse. The vast majority of their investigations DO NOT result in any prosecution at all. They obviously referred this case to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution because of the child's age. She is in trouble NOT because of the age...but because she is a "dependent person". A mentally disabled 20year old could be a dependent person...and could also prompt a prosecution. It is not a black or white line. Each case is individual and decisions are made based on the circumstances.

Family man

I'm sure that out there somewhere is some deadbeat bad griping about the fact that she left "his" kids home alone....

Dolphin

Deadbeat dad's get off. They are never held accountable.

mondaymorning

Meanwhile, in other news, mom leaves kid with boyfriend while she works. Boyfriend beats kid so badly he needs to be airlifted to Iowa City. Which is the better mom?

What services are available to these moms? How can moms who make very little work AND pay for child care? Again, I feel sad that this mom had to make a difficult decision.

NotReallyBill

Do you guys ever cry in the shower?

CConklin

Hmmm, maybe the concerned neighbor who called DHS should have offered her help instead. Takes a village to raise a child.

cd1001

Yeah, some guy is supposed to babysit a four year old all day for free for a few years? I applaud the neighbor for calling the police.

Alice in Wonderland

My mother left me home alone as early as age 3. I vividly remember her telling me I had to listen to my records until she got back. I was allowed to go to the bathroom. But otherwise I was to listen to my records and if I was good she would bring me a new record. This was back in 1956. Thankfully the house never caught on fire or some other type tragedy. I was also spanked daily for whatever ticked her off that I did. I am not vengeful of her and I'm not 'warped' because of her. What she did was wrong and lucky for me, nothing bad came of it. I forgive her for all of it.

Randogg420

She probley needed some help.But ten years in prison Iowa =North KoreaThis place is jacked up

Santony25

Yes it was STUPID.

Santony25

First off I don't think she should be away from her children for this. Some people have no choice but to do what they need to do.
If I'm comparing one of my sons to my daughter at age 4, I'd say my daughter at 4 would be have been able to be home alone at that age but not my son. Which btw she is 14 and he is 9 now.
Some children mature more quickly than some.
I for one never needed to leave my children home alone. I never left my daughter at age 4 even tho she was more mature at her age for a 4 year old.
I'm not sticking up for this person, but jmo she needs to be home with her children and her children not in foster care.
I don't know the entire story. It all depends in the 4 years old maturity. If it was me( which it wasn't) I would have let the older child stay home from school to watch the little one if I had no choice, no sitter.
Again this is a hard case. Not saying what she did was right but again it wasn't wrong....

Bring it!

Comment deleted.
mondaymorning

Yes, we are all so stupid (says the guy who doesn't know how to punctuate a sentence).

Klaatu
Klaatu

It sure was wrong. A four year old can't possibly deal with any kind of emergency. It is nothing but sheer dumb luck that it didn't end in tragedy, and the eight year old can't be left alone either. Try leaving an eight year old in a store parking lot in your car and see what happens.

SwingCheese

You really see no difference between leaving a 4 year old home alone all day and leaving an 8 year old in a car while you run into the store for a few minutes? Honestly?

Santony25

I see this in many different views.

NotReallyBill

I don't think people should be allowed to leave their homes, ever.

budnight

Ever pay for daycare? Thank you Osama! ..........err, I mean Obama.

Klaatu
Klaatu

First off, there is absolutely no way a four year can be left alone, not even for five minutes. That cannot be defended and even if there is no specific age in a statute there is plenty of evidence for neglect and endangerment. Since the kid wasn't hurt I would say go light on her with some parenting classes and rigorous followup up DCFS to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Jeffrey Smith

Apparently, her 4 year old could be left alone - nope, not defending her for that.

However, as ALL parents know (except for you, perhaps?), there is a specific age that they can be left alone in the state of Iowa.

toms

so what is that age/? I can't find one...

Jva2009

There is no excuse! None. I cannot believe the ignorance of some of you. There are plenty of ways to find reasonable, great day care. She NEGLECTED her child! What if there was a fire? Whether or not there is a specific law stating when a child can left at home, common sense says I won't leave my 4 year old home alone.

mondaymorning

I read this story and just felt sad for this mother. I can't imagine the choice she had to make.

I have to agree with manderson. Help is a lot harder to find than people think. It's interesting that there is no law but she is being charged with a felony. Sad day for mother and kids.

Comment deleted.
mondaymorning

I'm going to assume from your screen name that you are male. It's pretty easy for you to sit and judge when you have not walked in her shoes.

cd1001

Um, the article says what law she is charged with breaking.

RyanB

Probably? The child should NEVER be left at home at the age of 4...EVER! And blaming Iowa for this? How about this mother is an idiot and should have her children taken away for awhile...Would you be singing the same toon is the child had stuck a fork in an electrical socket? turned on the stove and blew the house up? Ate mouse bait? Tried to go to the bathroom and slipped and hit their head? Wandered out into the cold and got hit by a car? I mean come on people! How someone could defend her in anyway is beyond me....

manderson
manderson

I agree with Red Frog, and iowalittledog that there is no set age in iowa to leave a child home alone, therefore, there is no law that this woman could have broken by leaving her child home alone. Iowa also does say it is a family friendly place to live, but then does not offer lots of family daycare options or even babysitting options for low income families who may not be able to afford daycare at all. there really needs to be a better plan. while i do not agree with leaving a child home alone at such a young age, i also do not agree on taking a mom who worked hard to provide for her young children, away from those kids. i do agree as a family friendly state, iowa should have better laws in place, and classes, or programs for daycare for everyone not just a few people with the rest on a waiting list to allow situations such as this to exist. where are all the volunteers, and daycare providers who can help, where are programs that can help? it takes one hard working mom to make a family, it takes one whole community to raise a family. she should be given probation at the most, and not be charged with a crime as their is no crime, when no law exists.

twiggy
twiggy

The crime is neglect or abandment of a depentant person. That is the crime. Iowa DOES have programs to help pay for day care. This mom is just irresponsible.

Red Frog

Just stating that I, in no way, think what this woman has done is without punishment. She should be charged with neglect. A four year old should certainly never be left home alone. When my kids were younger they never even played outside alone.
My first reply was in answering iowalittledog's question.

Red Frog

Iowa has no law on the books but it is generally thought that no child under the age of 12 should be left home alone.
http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-kids-age-limits.htm

manderson
manderson

cant be a crime, if there is no law. i agree that it dont seem right but without a law she should not be charged.

Red Frog

There are state laws about child neglect and that's certainly what this mom has done. No four year old should ever be left home alone.

cd1001

It says right in the article what law she is charged with...

iowalittledog

So what age does a child have to be in order to be able to be home alone? Big brother please tell me, what is the legal age that one can leave a child home alone? 4 is young, not sure at that age she would know how to call 911 and report her danger or escape danger like fire, or feed herself! Surly she could not cook. Quad Cities what age do you feel it's okay to leave a child home alone?

manderson
manderson

yep, i agree kids should probably not be left home alone, but if the children already were used to it, and knew what to expect, and there was no law, then there was no crime.

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