When a Florida parent faces allegations of child neglect, these allegations may have an impact on any pending custody cases. Child neglect is a serious offense, and the penalties associated with a conviction for child neglect are also quite serious.
Whether a parent receives a charge of child neglect depends on whether that parent’s actions constitute a violation of the state’s child neglect laws.
Defining child neglect
The Florida Legislature defines child neglect as a failure to provide a child with the care, supervision and services that child needs to maintain strong physical and mental health. A caregiver’s failure to take efforts to protect a child against abuse or exploitation may also constitute child neglect.
It is important to note that a pattern does not have to exist for a parent’s actions to constitute child neglect. Sometimes, child neglect involves a pattern of behavior. In other cases, a single event or instance may count as child neglect.
Recognizing child neglect
Child neglect may take on many forms, and many offenses involving child neglect are also felony offenses. Aggravated child abuse constitutes child neglect and a first-degree felony. Neglect of a child that leads to bodily harm or permanent disfigurement is a second-degree felony. Someone who knowingly or willfully neglects a child without causing bodily harm or permanent disfigurement may face a third-degree felony charge.
While these are some examples of what might constitute child neglect under Florida law, this is not an exhaustive summary of all actions that may fall under this umbrella.