Deserting a child with or failing to provide for the physical and mental well-being of a minor child is a crime. Depending on the severity of the crime, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Aside from compiling a criminal record, a child abandonment defendant can be fined and sent to jail. A parent can also be stripped of their parental rights for failing to properly care for a child.
Parents are responsible for meeting the physical, health and safety needs of any minor children for which they are legally responsible. This requirement includes parents, legal guardians and anyone that has agreed to care for one or more minor children. Abandoned children, or foundlings, may be considered legally abandoned in one or more of the following ways:
- Leaving a child in the care of another party without providing general support or communicating with the child for an extended period of time
- Providing only minimal support or meaningful communication for a substantial period of time
- Failure to visit a minor child for at least six months or as defined by a state or local jurisdiction
- Failure to meet the requirements of an authorized plan to reunite a child with a parent or guardian
- Abandoning an infant at any inappropriate location, including doorsteps, dumpsters and roadsides
- Causing harm to a child by leaving them alone at home and failing to provide proper care and sustenance
- Failing to respond to an official notice of child protective proceedings
- Demonstrating a disinterest in meeting the physical, mental or safety needs of a child
Many times, child abandonment is treated as a form of child abuse. Failing to meet the basic needs of a child under the age of thirteen can result in a child welfare investigation and criminal charges. Moreover, the supervision of a minor child must be provided by someone that is at least fourteen years of age. Proper care may include food, shelter, clothing, emotional support and health care.
Many jurisdictions have enacted mandated reporting laws in the event of suspected child abandonment. It may also be possible for a parent to abandon a child at a designated safe haven location without being charged with child abandonment. Typical safe havens include hospitals, churches and fire stations.
Child Abuse Charges
Getting accused of abandoning or harming your child is both emotionally damaging and has large legal repercussions. The best thing you can do in this circumstance is call an experienced child abandonment attorney to determine your next logical step. Get a free case evaluation today by calling Brett A. Podolsky at 713.227.0087.
*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net