What Qualifies as Child Neglect in New York?

Is your ex-husband or wife accusing you of child neglect and using that against you in a child custody action? Or, is a state agency claiming that you have been neglecting your children? If so, we urge you to read on to learn more about child neglect under New York State law.

According to the NYC Administration for Children's Services, "The Family Court Act of the state of New York defines child neglect or abuse as the act, or failure to act, by any parent or caretaker that results in the death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child."

If you notice, the quote above mentioned "serious emotional harm." This means that a child does not have to be "physically abused" to be neglected under the Family Court Act. While child abuse refers to "physical abuse," for the purposes of this post, we're going to focus on child neglect cases. Continue reading to learn more.

Defining Child Neglect in NY

When parents are accused of child neglect, their first question is usually, "What qualifies as child neglect?" Generally, a parent or legal guardian neglects a child if he or she fails to provide proper food, shelter, clothing, or medical care. If a parent fails to properly supervise their child to protect their health, safety and well-being, this would fall under the category of child neglect as well.

For example, if a mother left her 5-year-old child home alone for several hours or the entire day, it would be considered "child neglect" under the law. Or, if a divorced father left his three children under the age of 13 home alone all night while he went to work, that too would be considered child neglect.

Common examples of child neglect:

  • Keeping a child home from school for unexcused reasons.
  • Failing to provide the child with adequate food, shelter and clothing.
  • Failing to provide a child with necessary medical care.
  • Leaving the child with someone who lacks the ability to properly supervise or protect the child from harm.
  • Using drugs to the point where the parent cannot properly care for the child.
  • Humiliating a child, or subjecting him or her to verbal terror or extreme criticism.
  • Exposing a child to domestic violence; for example, spousal abuse.
  • Giving drugs to a child. Or, keeping, manufacturing, or selling illegal drugs in the child's presence.

Are you being accused of neglecting your child for any of the above reasons? If so, and you're facing a child custody battle, we urge you to contact our firm to arrange a free consultation with our Long Island divorce and family law attorney!

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