Child Custody

What Qualifies As Child Neglect In New York?

Last updated on September 18, 2023

Child neglect is considered a serious offense in New York. Under New York family law, child neglect is defined as the failure of a parent or guardian to provide the needed care and supervision that can compromise a child’s safety, health, and overall well-being. Speaking with an experienced Manhattan family law attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected. In addition, speaking with an attorney can help you understand New York child abuse laws. Contact New York Family Law Group today at (347) 212-5113 to learn more about how we can help.

If your former partner or a state agency accuses you of child abuse or neglect, you must know what to expect. Below is an overview to help you understand child neglect under New York State law.

What Is Child Neglect in New York?

If you are not familiar with family laws in New York, you might not be sure of what qualifies as child neglect. Parents who have been accused of child neglect fail to provide basic needs, including food, medical care, clothing, and shelter. In addition, if a parent fails to supervise their children to the degree that their well-being, health, and safety are threatened with harm, this would also be considered child neglect.

The New York Family Court Statute, Section 1012, states that a neglected child is a child below 18 years whose condition has been affected by a parent or caretaker failing to exercise the required degree of care. This implies that a parent has allowed the child to suffer physical or emotional harm by a lack of proper supervision, abuse of drugs or alcohol, or excessive corporal punishment.

Because of the complex nature of court proceedings involving child neglect, it is best to understand your rights, the law, and the potential legal implications by consulting your child neglect attorney before things get complicated.

Examples of child neglect in New York include:

  • Failure to support a child or children’s academic needs either by not following up on their educational requirements or keeping them home from school for unjustifiable reasons.
  • Failure to provide basic needs like shelter, food, clothing, and medical care.
  • Excessive use of drugs to the point where a parent or caretaker cannot adequately care for the child.
  • Failure to protect the child from domestic violence, including spousal abuse.
  • Unreasonable use of corporal punishment that results in physical or emotional harm.
  • Possessing or distributing drugs in the presence of a child.
  • Leaving a child under the care of someone who cannot properly supervise and protect them.
  • Giving drugs to a child.
  • Subjecting the child to humiliation, criticism, or verbal terror.
Child Neglect Examples in New York Description
Failure to support academic needs Not following up on educational requirements or keeping children home from school without justification
Failure to provide basic needs Neglecting to provide shelter, food, clothing, and medical care for children
Excessive drug use Engaging in drug use to the point where adequate care for the child is compromised
Failure to protect from domestic violence Failing to protect the child from spousal abuse or domestic violence
Unreasonable corporal punishment Using physical punishment that causes physical or emotional harm to the child
Drug possession/distribution in the presence of a child Possessing or distributing drugs while a child is present
Leaving a child with inadequate supervision Leaving a child in the care of someone who cannot adequately supervise or protect them

What Happens If You Get Charged with Child Neglect

Facing a child neglect charge is a serious and complex issue. If Child Protective Services (CPS) gets involved, your case is likely to go to court. If there’s substantial evidence of neglect, CPS may even file a lawsuit on behalf of your child. This could lead to CPS gaining temporary custody over your child while your case is ongoing, requiring you to make plans for your child’s relocation and attend regular hearings.

The legal process begins with an Adversary Hearing where CPS will try to convince the judge that your child should remain under their temporary care. Here, you and your attorney will present evidence to counter this claim, aiming to return your child to your home.

Next, you’ll draft a permanency plan for your child’s future living arrangements. The objective is generally to return your child home, but it could involve placing your child with a relative or close friend. This plan needs to be agreed upon by you, your attorney, your child (if they are over 7), and their caretakers.

Following this, there are Status Hearings to monitor your progress in accordance to the plan. You should communicate any concerns about the plan to the judge during these hearings.

After six months of your child’s removal from your home, the court holds a Permanency Hearing. The judge reviews your child’s adjustment and your progress toward the permanency plan goals. These hearings typically occur every four months, but the frequency can change depending on your situation.

To avoid a trial, you may opt for mediation, where all parties negotiate a resolution. The final agreement becomes a court order if approved.

Child neglect charges can impact your parental rights significantly. Your child’s future and your rights as a parent are too important to leave to chance. If you’re facing such charges, seeking professional legal aid is crucial. A skilled family law attorney can guide you through this process.

What Is The Legal Impact of Child Abuse: Immediate and Long-Term Consequences?

When facing child abuse charges in New York City, there are many potential consequences to consider now and in the future. Right away, you could lose your relationship with the child, whether you’re a family member or a guardian, which can lead to emotional and legal problems.   In addition, the accused individual may face severe criminal charges and penalties for child abuse, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the nature and severity of the alleged misconduct.

NYC family law lawyer

Additionally, if you’re found guilty of a crime, it may have serious long-term consequences.  Your criminal record can cause ongoing problems that may affect your life in many ways. 

Convictions for child abuse in New York City carry serious penalties that may make it difficult to carry out everyday activities. These difficulties may include obtaining employment, securing a mortgage or car loan, and opening a bank account. 

Being convicted of child abuse in New York City can cause emotional and mental problems that last a long time. As such, it’s important to seek the help of a lawyer when facing child abuse charges to minimize the impact of potential long-term consequences and protect your rights. 

Contact a New York Child Neglect Lawyer

If you are being accused of child neglect for any of these reasons, it is crucial to contact an experienced child neglect lawyer who understands New York’s family laws. At New York Family Law Group, we have a team of family law attorneys to represent you in and out of court to ensure your child’s rights are fully protected. Contact us online to schedule a consultation with our attorneys, Ethan Steward and Martin Mohr.



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