What Is Abandonment Of A Child?
This is an issue that is considered a crime in many states. It is detailed by the parent or guardian leaving the child without thinking about the well-being of the child or any future consequences. The person leaving the child could also be a sitter or someone else who is left in charge. At times, the parents might not know that the child has been abandoned until arriving home if the parents left the child in the care of someone else. Another issue of abandonment is simply neglecting to provide the proper care for the child, such as not giving the child food, water or shelter.
There are times when someone could abandon a child in a physical manner by leaving the child on a doorstep with no intention of going back. There is also emotional abandonment, which is being investigated more today than in recent years. It involves the emotional distress of a child from parents working all the time and not spending time with the child. There is hardly any contact with the child because the parents are not at home like they need to be or want to be as they work or simply go out with friends or alone all the time. There are a few elements that are looked at when it comes to defining and charging someone with child abandonment. One is leaving a child with someone else or alone without any means of support either physically or financially. The parent might make minimal efforts when it comes to communicating with the child or providing if the parent keeps a home. If there is a failure to attend classes or programs that are set forth by the court, then the parent could be charged with abandonment.
Most states combine child abuse and abandonment together. There are some that will classify the issue as a felony and some that will only classify it as a misdemeanor, especially if there aren’t any physical issues involved.
Examples Of Abandonment
A common example is if parents leave the child at home and don’t plan on going back to care for the child. Another issue would be letting the child stay with a relative or a friend with no further contact or support. Abandonment can include not providing clothing for the child or medical care. If there is a teacher or someone else who knows that the child is abandoned, then there is a mandate to report the incident. Many states have safe haven policies where parents can take children to a hospital, fire station or police department instead of leaving the child alone. At times, a child can be left at home alone if the child is of a minimal age, but the parents still need to go back to the home in order for it not to be seen as abandonment. Punishments could include jail time, fines and classes that need to be taken before getting custody of the child once again.
Defenses For Abandonment
A NYC criminal lawyer can examine the issues presented with the abandonment claim to determine if they are substantiated or not. A defense that can be used is that the parent had nowhere to go and needed help for the child. The attorney will strive to make the prosecution prove that there was intent to abandon the child, which can help the case if there isn’t sufficient evidence.