Minnesota Child Neglect and Abandonment Laws

Minnesota law enforcement officials take child neglect and abandonment laws very seriously. Parents are required to provide and care for children until they can take care of themselves. However, sometimes parents do not uphold these duties and choose to neglect or even abandon their children. This type of abuse can have a profound impact on a child and, as a result, Minnesota imposes various laws to prevent neglect and abandonment as well as punish those who do this to their children.

Types of Child Abuse

In Minnesota, here are various types of child abuse that could result in criminal charges, including the following:

  • Physical abuse. A caregiver who causes physical injury or threatens to cause substantial injury to a child is guilty of physical abuse. This type of abuse can range from minor bruising to severe internal injuries or death.
  • Mental injury. Not all injuries are physical, and a caregiver can cause harm to a child’s psychological capacity or emotional stability. This type of abuse can be evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment to the child’s functioning.
  • Sexual abuse. A child is a victim of sexual abuse when they have been subjected to a criminal sexual act or threatened act committed by a caregiver, person in a position of authority, or person with whom they have a significant relationship.

Minnesota’s Child Neglect Laws

The neglect of a child is one of the most common forms of child abuse in Minnesota. A caregiver can commit neglect through any of these following acts:

  • Failing to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical or mental health care, education or supervision.
  • Failing to protect a child from conditions that endanger the child.
  • Failing to take steps to ensure that a child is educated as required by the law.

Anyone found guilty of child neglect could face a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail or a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison.

Child Abandonment in Minnesota

Child abandonment is considered a form of child endangerment and is punishable by the same gross misdemeanor or felony penalties mentioned above. Abandonment is presumed when a parent has had no contact with their child on a regular basis or has not demonstrated a consistent interest in the child’s well-being for a period of six months, and social service agencies have made reasonable efforts to facilitate contact.

Child abandonment will also be presumed if an infant under two years of age has been deserted by a parent or guardian under circumstances that show they have no intention of returning to the child.

What to Do if You are Charged with Child Abuse in Mankato

If you or somebody you care about has been charged with child abuse or neglect in Minnesota, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. When you are facing these charges, you can receive significant penalties, and the state could even take your children away. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, you may be able to disprove the allegations or reduce the charges that have been levied against you. Contact Knutson+Casey today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and understanding Mankato defense attorney.