A GOLD Coast mother left her seven-year-old son at home alone overnight to look after his one-year-old sister.

She no longer has the kids.

The boy and his one-year-old sister were only discovered when the school deputy principal came to the home to drop off homework for the boy.

But the mum, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the children, claims she had left at night to get milk, returned, and then left the next morning to go to Woolworths, Big W and visit a friend.

The children are now in care.

The 28-year-old pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court to two counts of leaving a child under 12 unattended and one count each of driving without a licence, possessing stolen property and failing to appear in court.

Magistrate Michelle Dooley sentenced the mum to two years probation. Convictions were recorded.

"It was just lucky that teacher attended the home," she said.

"For a seven-year-old to be left in charge of his younger sister for any time is unacceptable.

"He is too young to bear a responsibility of that nature and that type of experience is going to stick with him."

Magistrate Dooley said the mum was "very lucky" the boy was mature enough to look after his younger sister.

Prosecutor Chris Freeman said the deputy principal went to the boy's home to drop off homework about 9.30am on May 6 this year.

When the teacher arrived he noticed the garage door was open and car missing.

Mr Freeman said when the deputy principal knocked the boy answered the door.

"He told the principal that he had not seen his mother since the night before and was home alone with his sister," she said.

"(The boy) said he was worried about his mum."

Mr Freeman said police and the Department of Child Safety were called.

The boy told officers he often looked after his younger sister.

He was unable to tell officers what the emergency number was.

Mr Freeman said when the boy's mother was interviewed she said she had left them to get milk the night before.

She said she returned that night and then left again in the morning to go shopping and see a friend.

The mother also told police she had not had a babysitter for a year and needed adult conversation.

Defence lawyer Faith Nash, of Hofstee Lawyers, said the woman had been working with Child Safety and had supervised visits of her children.

Ms Nash said the woman had a drug addiction and had undergone a rehabilitation program.

The court was told the woman also suffered from depression.

lea.emery@news.com.au


Originally published as Mum leaves 7yo alone to look after baby sister