Daniel PollackDaniel Pollack, professor at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, has published a new article in Policy & Practice, the journal of the American Public Human Services Association.

In “The Legal Contours of Child Endangerment,” Pollack explains that adults caring for children have a legal obligation to ensure their safety and that failing to protect them may result in the caregiver being charged with “child endangerment” or “endangering the welfare of a child.” Examples of child endangerment can include behaviors like driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle, leaving a child alone and unsupervised with available dangerous weapons or opting for spiritual healing rather than conventional medicine when a child’s life is in danger.

He also explains how child endangerment charges can be brought against a caretaker even if the behavior of the caretaker isn’t specifically directed at a child. He cites a case in which the Supreme Court of Nebraska upheld a father’s conviction of child endangerment even though he threatened the mother with harm but not the children. They ruled that  the word “endangers” also means “to expose a minor child’s life or health to danger or the peril of probable harm or loss.”

Pollack counsels that “human services workers and others who believe they have encountered child endangerment, and individuals who have been charged with child endangerment, should seek the advice of an experienced attorney. The attorney should be able to discuss what options are available under the circumstances.”

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