Child Neglect: Are You At Risk Of A Charge?

Recently, a small child fell into the gorilla pit at city zoo, leading to the gorilla being killed. Surprisingly, some people wanted the mother charged with neglect, sending a chill into the hearts of many parents who have temporarily lost sight of their own children on occasion. Other parents have been charged with neglect for their disciplinary actions and other parenting choices that they make. What is child neglect and what should you do if you are accused or charged with it?


Child neglect is a serious charge and is usually leveled when parents have not provided the basic necessities for their children. These necessities include food, shelter, supervision, and affection. If a child is sent to school dirty and in tattered clothing over a period of time, a case might be made for abuse. Leaving your young child home alone for hours or even days is clearly a sign of neglect. Other areas of the law can be much more difficult to define.  

Parental Actions

Often, legal action is only taken in extreme and obvious cases, but neglect can apply to other instances when the authorities believe children have been placed in danger. Recently, a mother was charged with child neglect for having her children walk behind her car to school to punish them for missing the bus. Some actions that used to be considered proper are now being considered dangerous. For instance, sending your elementary school aged children to play at the park without supervision, something that was considered normal not that long ago, can get you in legal hot water now. After the recent gorilla  incident, parents may be tempted to stay away from zoos and other similar locations for fear of losing sight of their own child.

Legal Help

If you have been charged with child neglect, you will need legal representation. Custody of your children could be at stake, so, before you speak to state investigators, police, or doctors, contact a lawyer. You may be a good parent, but once your children become involved in "the system," things can get complicated and ugly quite quickly. You will need help navigating the rules of the state and making sure your rights are protected.

Of course, you owe your children a safe and happy childhood, but sometimes even good parents get entangled with the law. Some instances of child neglect are obvious while others are certainly open to interpretation. If you are being investigated or charged with child neglect, you should not hesitate to hire a lawyer. The custody of your children may be at stake. Visit for more information.