Child Neglect and Child Endangerment
Child abuse and child neglect are two entirely different types of offense, and while child abuse is typically a crime that is more heavily punished, child neglect can also end in a misdemeanor or felony charge, and a loss of parental rights. If you have been charged with child neglect, do not hesitate to contact an attorney at once.
What is Neglect?
Neglect happens when the parents of a child fail to provide their child adequate food, clothing, supervision, shelter, and other needs. For example, it would be considered neglectful to leave a newborn baby or toddler at home by themselves for any length of time, especially for hours or all day long. A parent would also be subjecting their child to neglect if they allowed the child to participate in very dangerous activities, such as driving a car or lighting illegal firecrackers. Allowing a child to do very dangerous activities might be considered child endangerment.
Child endangerment is defined in Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/12C-5 as causing or permitting “the life or health of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered,” or to cause or permit “a child to be placed in circumstances that endanger the child's life or health.” For example, leaving a child under six years old in a hot car would be considered child endangerment. Child endangerment is a class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a class 3 felony for a second offense. If in the course of child endangerment, a child is killed, the defendant faces a class 3 felony with a minimum of two years in prison.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
It is the duty of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to “protect the health, safety, and best interests of the child in all situations in which the child is vulnerable to child abuse or neglect. . .” according to Illinois general assembly code 325 ILCS 5. The agency investigates reports of neglect and abuse and takes action, such as recommending counseling or even removing the child from the home, when necessary.
It is a Misdemeanor for Certain Members of Society to Not Report Neglect or Abuse
If a physician, including a dentist, fails to report neglect or abuse, they may be charged with a class A misdemeanor. A second offense constitutes a class 4 felony. Similar charges will be filed if a physician makes a false report of abuse or neglect.
Call the Naperville Criminal Defense Attorneys of Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC Today
If you have been charged with abuse, neglect, or child endangerment, contact the Naperville child neglect defense attorneys of Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC immediately. We are available to protect your rights today.