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Matter of Ashantewa W.L


NY Slip 00975

February 8, 2017

This is an appeal by a mother from a Family Court matter in Westchester County. The Order found that the mother was guilty of neglect. It was ordered that the decision of the prior court was affirmed.

Regarding proving child neglect, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence (Family Court Act 1046[b][i] that the child’s mental and/or physical well-being is in imminent danger or has been impaired. This harm has been caused by a parent failing to exercise the minimum degree of care necessary to care for the child [Family Court Act 1012[f][i][b]; Nicholson v Scopetta 3NY3d 357, 358.

In this case, it was found by a preponderance of the evidence that the mother’s conduct had put the child in imminent danger of harm (Matter of Tyler C 82 AD 3d 1093, Matter of Angelique L. 42 AD3d 569,572.

The temporary restraining order against the mother pursuant to the Family Court Act 1022 will not be addressed by this court (Matter of Jamaki B. 119 AD3d 939,940).

In New York, the Office of Children and Family Services is obligated by law to thoroughly investigate all reports of child abuse and neglect, and to protect children from further abuse.

Generally, an abused child is considered to be the victim of physical, mental or sexual abuse inflicted by a parent (see Social Services Law 1012 section 412).

Neglect or maltreatment (sec. 412 of Social Services Law), refers to the quality of care that the child is receiving. This occurs where the caregiver places a child in imminent harm, or doesn’t use a minimum standard of care in caring for the child. It can also be due to abandonment, or if the parent engages in drugs or alcohol.

According to the Administration of Child Services in New York, child neglect is defined as “the failure of a parent or caretaker to provide food, shelter, clothing or medical care. Or, failure to provide sufficient supervision regarding health, well-being or safety of the child. Examples of neglect include:

Exposing a child to violence

Engaging in unreasonable corporal punishment

Leaving a child alone who is not developmentally able to be left alone

Subjecting a child to extreme fear, humiliation

Being in the presence of a parent using drugs or alcohol to the degree they are unable to care for the child

Keeping, manufacturing or selling drugs in the presence of a child

Leaving a child with an irresponsible caretaker

Child abuse law are also addressed in the New York Penal Code. Criminal charges can be filed, which often deal with assault and battery. NY child abuse laws also include provisions which obligate certain adults who have access to children to report signs of abuse. The people may include counselors, teachers or doctors.

Another relevant statute is NY Penal Law 260.10, endangering the welfare of a child. You may be thinking that leaving a child unattended in a car or leaving alcohol in open sight in front of a child are no big deal, but they might be.

Often a charge of a violation of penal law 260.01 is thought of as an “overcharge.” A guilty charge of this offense however is serious and can result in up to one year in jail as well as a mark on a criminal record.

There are several laws that govern this area. One is the New York State Child Protective Services Act of 1973. New York created a system which includes: detection of a problem by a third party (including mandatory reporting), a central register for repeated incidents, the creation of child protected services, the creation of emergency protective custody, and court action when necessary.

If you have a legal problem involving a family matter such as custody, child support or spousal support, contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates for guidance and a free consultation. We have offices to serve you throughout New York, including locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County and Westchester County. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-NYNYLAW.

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