Endangering the welfare of a child: What are the penalties for the child care professionals?

When you are incarcerated against a charge of endangering the welfare of a child, you must contact a professional attorney that may fight your case to protect your rights. This is because an offense of endangering the welfare of a child entails a serious charge, which is often considered a misdemeanor and can land you behind the bars or for supervised probation for an extended period, and a possible fine if found guilty and convicted.

Endangering the welfare of a child charge can also be raised in the family court, which may entail custodial issues. This is why you have to reach out to an attorney to talk about your case. While looking at the statistics of child endangerment, 

What is Considered Endangering the Welfare of Children?

A charge of endangering the welfare of a child can be applied to a person for several reasons. They can be physical, emotional, or intentionally leaving them knowing they will be harmed at a place. Also, you can be pulled over for the same charge if you even leave your child in the car while just wanting to take the pizza from the nearby store for dinner. 

The key factor that plays a major part in endangering the welfare of a child is if they are under the age of 17. The charge can also be imposed if a child is directed to participate in a chore that includes a potential risk to the child’s mental or physical health or his life.

If a parent, grandparent, or a legal guardian of a child younger than the age of eighteen prevents himself from acting responsibly and does not act reasonably to limit the child from becoming a neglected or abused child, performing acts that could land him/her to a substantial physical or mental injury or death, not providing them with enough shelter, food, care, education, a person who is over 18 years of age and is beyond the legal control, is out of school, etc. the neglecting individuals can be convicted with endangering the welfare of a child charges in most states.

Endangering the welfare of a child defined

Under 18 Pa.C. Section 4304, the neglect of a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian would be considered a violation of the law defined for parenting for children under 18 and would be against the duty of support, care and protection towards a child. People that are hired to provide care, protection, and support to the child will also be filed under the violation of endangering the welfare of a child law if the child becomes rowdy, unruly, or reluctant to accept any kind of advice.

State statutes define another person that provides care to the child as an educator or caregiver. Some common examples of endangering the welfare of a child include:

  • Consuming controlled substances in the presence of children
  • Driving under influence of an illicit substance along with a child
  • Hurting the child (intentionally/unintentionally) during a fight with the spouse
  • Failing to provide medical care to a sick child
  • Squalid home conditions.

Many states have different laws regarding endangering the welfare of a child and every time they take it as a serious crime that ends up in conjunction with other crimes.

Understanding Endangerment of Child Or Abandonment laws

According to the Penal Code of Texas Section 22.041, the term ‘abandon’ means to leave the child without reasonable care in a house or car. As of Texas Section 261.001 (1) Family Code ’abuse’ involves the following executions;

  • When a person permits a child to be the part of a situation where a child would be in significant danger of an emotional or physical injury
  • When a person fails to provide reasonable care to a child in preventing another person from providing harm to the child.

Grounds a Criminal Charge

To charge a person with Child Abandonment or Endangering the welfare of a child, the person must be legally obligated to provide the care and protection of the child. He also must have custody of the child.  The charge would be imposed if he/she intentionally failed to provide the care or did not provide the required care that caused the child to show disruptive or abusive behavior.

Some additional charges can also be imposed on the individual who recklessly shows negligence towards a 15 years old child that is in danger of potential harm or death.

Individuals will be presumed to leave a child in danger if they:

  • Possess, manufacture, and consume methamphetamine (meth) in front of the child
  • Presence of the substance/methamphetamine on the child’s body
  • Injected, inhaled, used, or ingested the controlled substance while you are with a child.

Child Care Professionals

Oftentimes children with additional care and needs are subjected to be cared for by childcare professionals. As they have been significantly hired to perform duties towards the child, they can easily be charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses if child neglect or abuse comes into light. They also are required to report child abuse or neglect within a certain period of time. In Texas, these professionals are defined as the certified and licensed individuals that are hired to facilitate children with special needs. Also, they can be appointed to have a direct point of contact for a child.

These individuals include:

  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Daycare employees
  • Teachers
  • Juvenile probation officers
  • Juvenile correctional or detention officers
  • Facility employees or Reproductive service

Penalties for endangering the welfare of a child

Following the Texas Penal Code Chapter 12, the general punishment and penalties for the abandonment and endangerment of the child are defined as:

  • A conviction from 180 days to two years or/with a fine of a total of $10,000 will be charged to a defendant who intentionally put the child in danger or abandonment with the intent to provide harm.
  • If harm entails a third-degree charge of endangerment or abandonment which is a felony offense, a defendant can end up in a jail sentence between two to ten years or/with a fine of $10,000.
  • If the defendant put a child intentionally in the situation where there is a risk of emotional or physical harm, bodily injury or death, or risk of impairment either mental or physical, this would be considered a second-degree offense with a felony conviction that will result in two to twenty years or/with the fine of $10,000.

Tired Penalties in Child Endangerment

 Almost all the states pose charges on a defendant for child abuse, endangerment or abandonment. Things that are often included in the child endangerment charge are directly related to the mental/physical/emotional health of a child.

In some states it doesn’t matter whether you intended to put the child in harm or not, the act counts in child endangerment. The most common catalyst for the charge is DWIs that can happen in boats, trucks, cars, and any kind of transportation. The penalties are segregated to different tires when it comes to neglect and the commission of child endangerment.

Child endangerment – First-time offenders

A first-time offense of a child endangerment comes with the probable penalties of:

  • A jail conviction of 10 days to 6 months
  • A fine of $300-$1000
  • Participation in a substance abuse program
  • Participation in a driver-impairment program

Depending on the circumstances, the court will recommend you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. The punishments listed above would be some additional penalties with the state DWIs, convictions and fines. However, if they seem minimal to anyone, state courts have the discretion to escalate the charge and so the penalties.

Child endangerment – Second-time offenders

The second-time offense of a child endangerment comes with the probable penalties of;

  • A jail sentence from a month to six months
  • A fine of $750 to $1000
  • A mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle for six months.

There will be mandatory court-approved illicit substance abuse and driver impairment programs that a second-time offender must adhere to.

And then again, there are some additional penalties that you would get after a DWIs second time execution.

Child endangerment – Third-time offenders

The third-time offense of a child endangerment comes with the probable penalties of:

  • A jail sentence of 1-5 years
  • A fine of $2000
  • Mandatory installation of
  • A restricted driving license
  • A regular evaluation by the Department of Health and Hospitals

Similar to first and second-time offense penalties, third-time offenses will also include these additional penalties with the DWIs conviction. Home incarceration can also be posed depending on the circumstances.

Furthermore, depending on other criminal situations or convictions and the prior endangerment or abandonment offense history, a defendant may face the following additional charges along with the penalties listed above;

  • Disqualification from receiving public assistance
  • Disqualification from becoming a child’s foster parent
  • Disqualification from possessing a firearm
  • Disqualification from submitting an application from certain educational programs

Disqualification from obtaining employment in all/certain areas.

Defenses related to Child Endangerment Allegations

When it comes to accusations against the endangerment or abandonment of a child, certain defenses are there that can work to protect your rights. Possibly, these defenses may not be applicable to the situation in which you are convicted or having allegations. It is important to speak with your family attorney or an experienced defense lawyer so you would know the possible defenses against the charges you bear.

Some of the solid legal defenses against the allegations of endangerment of a child include;

  • Lack of intent
  • Justification
  • Alibi
  • Duress
  • Coercion
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Mistake of fact

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