Knesset Says Parents Must Care for Kids Up to Age 16

Bill would increase age from 14 years old; the law requires a parent or legal guardian supply minors' vital needs - such as food, clothing, place to sleep and more.

Parents may soon be responsible for children up to age 16, and not just 14, after the Knesset Constitution Law and Justice Committee confirmed for second and third reading proposed amendments to the penal law.

The law requires a parent or legal guardian to supply minors' vital needs - such as food, clothing, a place to sleep and more.

"It's clear that even a child of 14 years cannot regularly take care of all his needs, livelihood, health and well-being, and he needs the care and supervision of someone responsible for him, with everything this entails," the introduction to the amendment reads. "The amendment is meant to protect the well being and health of minors already 14 years of age and to commit their parents or other guardians to provide their vital needs."

The move is sponsored by MK Orli Levi-Abekasis (Yisrael Beitenu ), who initially wanted to extend parental responsibility to up to 18 years of age, a proposal that was contested by other members of the committee.

The committee heard during its deliberations that the average age of homeless youths is 16 and a half.

A representative from the State Prosecutor told the MKs that parents were very rarely indicted for the offense, except in extreme cases and usually together with other charges of abuse and neglect.

At the end of the meeting, the committee voted in favor of moving the age bar to 16.