Child neglect allegations can be very difficult for a parent or guardian to deal with. These cases often encompass the State stepping into a family's home and determining how a parent or guardian should be raising a child. Reasonable people disagree on whether a child is being neglected under the law. Outside factors like lack of money, the need to work, disability and other factors may prevent a good parent from giving a child the care the State expects. You may disagree with the State on whether a particular action or inaction is neglect or proper parenting. If you or a loved one has been accused of child abuse, call us immediately to discuss your unique set of facts and what we can do for you.
Child Neglect is defined in Florida Statute Sections 827.03(1)(e) & 827.03(2)(b). In order for the State to prove that you are guilty of child neglect, they must prove:
- You willfully or by culpable negligence failed or omitted to provide the child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child's physical or mental health, or
- failed to make a reasonable effort to protect the child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person, and
- you were a caregiver for the child, and
- the child was under the age of 18 years.
Neglect of a child means:
- a caregiver's failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health including, but not limited to:
- medical services
that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child, or
- a caregiver's failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.
"Mental injury" means injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by a discernible and substantial impairment in the ability of the child to function within the normal range of performance and behavior as supported by expert testimony.
Culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care for others. For negligence to be called culpable negligence, it must be gross and flagrant. The negligence must be committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily harm.
Who is considered a "caregiver?"
The following people are considered "caregivers" under the statute:
Adult household member
Person responsible for a Child's Welfare
Aggravated Child Neglect is defined in Florida Statute Section 827.03(2)(b). Child Neglect becomes Aggravated Child Neglect if:
- You willfully or by culpable negligence neglected a child and in so doing caused:
- great bodily harm, or
- permanent disability, or
- permanent disfigurement.
Up to 5 years in prison
Aggravated Child Neglect
Up to 15 years in prison
The most common defense to child neglect allegations is that you did not willfully or by culpable negligence fail to provide for the child, either because the child was provided for or because you were unable to provide for the child, based on lack of money, ability, or for other reasons. There are many other possible defenses to child neglect cases that are unique to each case. Call us to discuss your child neglect case and what defenses may be available to you.
or Aggravated Child Neglect,
Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!