The crime of Failure to Provide Child Care (Child Neglect) is when a parent of a minor child willfully omits, without a lawful excuse, to furnish necessary clothing, food, shelter or medical attendance or other remedial care for his child. A parent is not relieved of criminal liability for such omission regardless of legal custody of the child. In fact, abandonment or desertion of a child is evidence of omission to furnish necessary clothing, food and shelter. Often absentee parents are unaware of or blocked from gaining information about child neglect. Willful knowledge of the neglect is an element of prosecution. Financial condition may be a “”lawful excuse”” for failing to provide care unless money was spent on other things or the defendant/s failed to look for work. Parents who choose faith healing over medical help for a child may not be charged with Child Neglect, but may be charged with Child Endangerment if the child dies. Examples of Child Neglect are a father hears, or knows, his ex-wife has a drug addition and fails to provide food for their child, and does nothing or a mother spends money on entertainment for herself but her child does not have food or warm clothes.
What does the prosecutor have to prove?
1. Defendant was the parent of a minor child.
2. Defendant willfully and without excuse omitted to furnish the child necessary clothing, food, shelter or medical attendance or other remedial care.
3. A child conceived but not yet born is deemed an existing person under the foregoing instruction.
With probation 0-364 days
Misdemeanor: 0-364 days