Child neglect is a failure to provide basic needs such as adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care for a child. It’s a form of abuse that may result in physical, emotional, psychological or educational harm to the minor; it’s basically a type of passive abuse. Michigan and many other states have exemptions for religion when it comes to child mistreatment.
Child neglect is the most common type of child mistreatment, in fact, in the U.S. it accounts for 78.3% of child mistreatment victims. Nearly 70% of the over 2,200 minors that died in U. S. in 2012, died from neglect, and many of those that physically survived came away with long-term psychological issues. Mental problems including attention and language deficits, reduced mental function and low academic scores can all result from child neglect.
Michigan has “mandatory reporter” laws; these laws require certain professionals that have regular access to children to report any signs of child abuse to the proper authorities. These mandatory reporters are teachers, clergy, doctors, social workers and counselors.
There is a wide array of family situations and the means they have to provide for their children. As a result, it is not always clear if there is child mistreatment or not. Being charged with child abuse or neglect can have serious repercussions. Some accepted rearing practices of the past may constitute abuse today and may or may not be used in a child abuse defense. Some of the arguments that can be made in a child endangerment defense are; false accusations, very common, especially in custody battles, or if a minor was injured because of an accident and necessary precautions were taken by the caregiver to prevent that accident; that too can be used as a defense. In states that have a religious exemption, such as Michigan, a religious practice can be used as a child neglect defense. It is controversial, but parents may legally deny their children medical attention on religious grounds.
An injury being the result of something other than child abuse may be used as a defense in court if the juvenile sustained injury from getting into a fight at school or has some medical condition such as brittle bone disease. A defense of Munchausen by Proxy may only work if the caregiver has a history of psychological or mental issues.
Legalquest Network serves the cities of Detroit, Dearborn, Southfield, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Sterling Heights.