Child neglect is a form of child abuse and is usually the failure by a child’s parent, guardian or caregiver to meet the child’s basic needs including the failure to provide adequate supervision, health care, clothing, or housing, as well as other physical, emotional, social, educational, and safety needs. Child neglect is usually a result of several parenting problems, including mental disorders, unplanned pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment, overemployment, domestic violence, and, in special cases, poverty.
California state laws (California Penal Code Section 270-273.75 et.) criminalizes child neglect and abandonment. During a child neglect case, the courts consider the caregiver’s income and financial resources to determine whether they willfully or intentionally withheld care or support from the child.
Anyone may be charged with a misdemeanor if they refuse to accept a child into their home after being instructed to do so by a child-welfare agency or law-enforcement agency.
It is also a crime to expose a child to the likelihood of physical harm, mental suffering, or death.
Child neglect and abandonment is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail, fine, probation.
The offense can be considered a felony if there was a risk of great bodily harm or death to the child. A felony charge can result in a jail term of up to six years in state prison, fine, probation or parole.