From Amber alerts to Leandra’s Law we routinely see cases of child neglect or abuse in our newspapers and on television. Cases involving children pose significant challenges to defendants and their attorneys for a number of reasons. Emotions are elevated, and rushes to judgement occur frequently. Also, whether victimized or not, children often have a difficult time communicating a set of facts and also separating fact from fantasy or from something they’ve been told.

Endangering the Welfare of a Child (PL 260.10) in Syracuse

A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child in Syracuse when:

  1. When he or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years old or directs or authorizes such child to engage in an occupation involving a substantial risk of danger to his or her life or health; or
  2. Being a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of a child less than eighteen years old, he or she fails or refuses to exercise reasonable diligence in the control of such child to prevent him or her from becoming an abused child, a neglected child, a juvenile delinquent, or a person in need of supervision as those terms are defined in articles ten, three, and seven of the Family Court Act.

In the situation where the adult, for the benefit of the child, leaves the child in a safe place and notifies an appropriate party of the child’s location and condition, endangering the welfare of a child does not come into play. The caveat is that the child must not be more than thirty days old. This is the sound public policy “abandoned baby” aspect of the statute. As a society, we want people who believe they cannot competently take care of a baby, to get the baby to a safe environment where he or she can be cared for.