Under state law in Minnesota, it is illegal to neglect, physically abuse, sexually abuse or mentally injure a child. These offenses all fall under the umbrella of child endangerment, with neglect being the most common.
Neglect of a child refers to a parent or legal guardian failing to provide a child with proper food, clothing or shelter. Failing to provide a child with an education and exposing a child to illegal drugs can also be considered illegal neglect.
When a parent or legal guardian is accused of abuse or neglect, the child can be removed from the home if the situation is serious enough. Or it is possible for the parent or legal guardian to be offered services to help keep the family together.
As we discussed in this article, not only is child endangerment illegal, it is also against the law to falsely accuse someone of child endangerment or fail to report child endangerment.
When child endangerment meets family law
Child endangerment issues often involve both criminal law and family law. While the criminal side of the matter may involve an investigation and/or charges against a parent or legal guardian, the family law side of the matter may involve an order for protection, a child custody order and/or a child support order.
- An order for protection can be sought on behalf of a child who is at risk of abuse. It orders the abuser to stay away from the child.
- Child endangerment can affect the outcome of child custody cases, as the goal of custody cases is to determine what is in the best interests of the child.
- Even if a child is taken away from a parent because of endangerment issues, the parent still has the duty to pay child support unless the parent has terminated his or her parental rights.
If you have been accused of child endangerment or believe a child you care about is being abused or neglected, talk to an experienced attorney with knowledge in this area for advice.