Can the facility handling my daughters treatment foster care turn me in for medical neglect

Medical neglect and parenting

Recently our on our legal forum we had a parent ask, "When can I be charged with medical neglect?"

Medical neglect is defined as the failure of the parents to provide adequate dental and medical care for their child or children. Failure to provide psychiatric care can also be considered medical neglect. Although state laws may vary, medical neglect is considered a form of child neglect. Details for your state will be listed under your state's child abuse laws.

When can you be charged with medical neglect?

How do you know if you can be charged with medical neglect? As mentioned above, the laws for each state will vary. Some of the most common reasons parents can be charged with medical neglect are because they have denied their child emergency medical care, they have failed to seek treatment for acute illnesses, they have not followed their doctors prescribed advice with regards to treatment, and they have not given their child medicine for their condition.

How will the state find out about medical neglect?

If your child has had significant deterioration of their health because you did not seek proper medical care and child services is notified, they may choose to intervene in the case. In some cases, if there is evidence you have neglected the medical care of your child, they will get a court order to intervene and take custody of your child. They will then seek the proper medical care for your child.

Keep in mind, the state will only intervene in the most severe cases where they believe there is an immediate emergency, your child has a life-threatening condition, or your child has a chronic condition which may leave them permanently disabled if they do not intervene.

The court will review your child's case prior to taking custody of the child to determine the state's interests, the child's interests and the parent's interest.

Will I be charged with a crime?

Medical neglect can be considered a crime. If the state has intervened and taken custody of your child you could be charged with child abuse. If you are accused, charged, and convicted of child abuse not only can you face jail time, you may also lose custody or visitation rights. If you have been charged with a crime it's time to talk to a lawyer. They can review your case and let you know your options for fighting the charges.

Strongly held religious views and medical care

Sometimes parents fail to provide necessary medical care because of strongly held religious views. While the state acknowledges that religion can be important for the growth and development of children, if the state determines your religious views are interfering with the proper medical treatment for your child they are likely to intervene. Generally, it is accepted by the state that while the constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it does not sanction "harming another person in the practice of one's religion." For this reason the state will not accept religion as a legal defense for harming another person.

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