just responding re my experience in child protection,
it's a judgment call as to the maturity/circumstances/environment of the children.
I agree with that; it depends on the kids.
When I was 8, I left NY and went to Arizona.
My parents became involved in operating some furniture stores that we purchased.
Thay got home usually between around 8 to 10 PM., except on Sundays.
I was alone until thay got home; I had no problems.
That was after school, most of the year, and all the time except Sundays,
when the stores were closed, during June, July n August.
I just hung around at home, reading or listening to the radio,
or occasionally visited friends in the naborhood
or went to the movies n restaurants; took a cab or a bus.
I never ran low on cash nor food. This continued for 5 years, until we returned to NY.
The worst problem that I ever had was when I locked myself out
and had to break a window to get in again.
On the other hand, some years ago, I was present when a young lady
I was seeing agreed on the fone to be away for a weekend.
Her 9 year old son called out to her, in a loud voice:
"Who 's going to take care of ME
I was silently surprized
that he did not consider himself able to do it independently.
I imagine that these children shoud be OK, with the older ones
watching the others, if thay are of conservative demeanor.