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Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 04:45 pm
Being accused of child neglect can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience for any parent or caregiver. As a parent myself, I know that we all try our very best to care for our kids – but sometimes life gets in the way. Maybe you’re dealing with financial struggles, mental health issues, substance abuse, or you just got overwhelmed. Whatever the reason, a child neglect allegation means that someone believes your child’s wellbeing was put at risk.
I’m writing this article to help explain what child neglect means legally in NYC, what happens when you get accused, and most importantly – to let you know there is hope. As an NYC child neglect lawyer, I have seen many good parents get wrapped up in the system when they needed support, not punishment. With the right legal guidance, many families can stay together and get back on track.
New York law defines child neglect pretty broadly. Basically it covers situations where a parent or caregiver fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical/dental care, or proper supervision for a child under 18 years old. Child neglect also includes excessive corporal punishment.
Some common examples I see as an NYC child neglect lawyer include:
Emotional neglect is also considered abuse in NY. This could involve extreme criticism, humiliation, or isolation of a child.
While those are some textbook examples, real life is always more complicated. Many cases I see involve “failure to supervise” allegations. This can mean different things – maybe you left your 8 year old home briefly while you ran to the store, or your teenager had a party while you were away that got out of hand. Any time a child is put in a dangerous situation, neglect charges are possible even if it was unintentional.
If someone reports you for suspected child neglect, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) will investigate. This could start with an unannounced visit to your home and interviews with your family. ACS has the authority to speak with your children at school or elsewhere without your consent. They may also request medical records and other documents.
If ACS believes there is credible evidence of neglect, they can file a court case against you. This means you will have to appear in Family Court and there may be orders put in place about contact with your child. In severe cases, the court could order your child removed from your home either temporarily or permanently.
I know this all sounds terrifying. The system is not designed to be parent-friendly. But this is where an experienced NYC child neglect lawyer can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and help you present your side to the judge. With legal representation, many parents are able to resolve the case through counseling, services, or an agreement that allows the family to heal and move forward together.
There are a number of legal defenses we commonly use in child neglect cases:
A skilled NYC child neglect lawyer will look at the details of your unique situation to figure out what defenses apply. Many cases can be resolved favorably this way.
Over my years representing parents accused of neglect, I’ve found the following factors often help convince the judge that a family deserves to stay together:
I wish I could say there are no serious consequences, but the reality is a finding of child neglect can change your life forever. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney fighting aggressively on your behalf from day one. Potential consequences include:
The stakes are extremely high. Having an experienced child neglect lawyer in your corner can mean the difference between devastation and redemption for your family.
Navigating the child welfare system is confusing under the best circumstances. When your family is in crisis and trauma, it can feel impossible to know what to do. An NYC child neglect lawyer guides you through the process, protects your rights, and fights for your family. Specifically, a lawyer can:
Having a lawyer levels the playing field and helps ensure the legal process is fair. The system is stacked against parents – don’t try to face it alone.
Being accused of neglecting your child is devastating. The uncertainty, judgement, and fear can seem overwhelming. But you are not alone, and with skilled legal counsel, many families prevail even in difficult circumstances.
If you are facing child neglect allegations in NYC, reach out for help. An experienced child neglect lawyer can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and defend your family. It won’t be easy, but there is hope. You are so much more than your worst mistake.
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