Child Neglect Laws In Florida
This past week in Venice Beach, Florida, deputies charged a couple with child neglect, after their infant child ingested cocaine in their presence. The charges stem from a 911 call placed to paramedics back in January. The parents called authorities because their child was unconscious and unresponsive after “ingesting something on the ground”. After a lengthy investigation and toxicology report, authorities determined the child swallowed cocaine powder located within the defendants’ home. The infant remains in foster care and the defendants are facing charges for neglect and violation of probation.
Child Neglect Defined
In Florida, child neglect is defined as a caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with care, supervision, or services necessary to maintain the child’s health, safety and wellness. This can include failure to provide food, water, shelter from elements, basic personal hygiene, medical services and proper supervision. Penalties for child neglect can include imprisonment for up to five years, as willful neglect of a child is punished as a third degree felony. This is not including potential consequences and impact on child custody or visitation rights, or in a professional caretaker’s case, revision or cancellation of a child care license. Parents can temporarily or permanently be deprived of their parental rights if a family court judge determines they are unfit to care for their child or the child’s life and safety would be in jeopardy in their supervision.
Progression of a Child Neglect Case
For cases of criminal child neglect, usually the child is evaluated by a juvenile psychologist and assigned a juvenile case worker. Both the psychologist and case worker may testify in a criminal hearing for charges of neglect in addition to a family court hearing to determine custody. If both parents are implicated, the child may be a ward of the state if the extended family does not seek emergency guardianship. If the parents or caregiver are also indicted for physical, mental or sexual abuse, expert testimony may also be rendered in court by a subject matter expert such as a physician or psychiatrist.
Sometimes one parent may accuse another parent of child abuse or child neglect in an attempt to negatively color that parent’s character or impact a pending child custody case. These charges are extremely serious and can result in a criminal investigation or indictment. If a parent is falsely accused, they need to consult with a criminal defense attorney and a family law attorney to review their options and prepare a defense.
Contact Attorney Bryant Scriven Today
Child neglect or abuse is a serious allegation, investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you believe you were falsely accused of child neglect by a spiteful ex, or that you have been framed, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Your reputation, career, custody rights and very freedom are at stake. Bryant Scriven is a skilled Tampa criminal defense attorney with former experience as a federal and state prosecutor in Florida. He works tirelessly to defend his clients and ensure their rights are protected. Call Attorney Scriven today to schedule a consultation.