Santa Rosa Child Neglect Lawyer

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Every child in Santa Rosa, CA deserves to receive proper care and attention at home and have all their needs met. The role of Child Protective Services in California is to ensure that this is the case. Unfortunately, because they must take every claim seriously, many parents are often wrongly charged with neglect.

If you are a parent of a minor child and have been charged with child neglect, reach out to an experienced and qualified family law attorney as soon as possible. A skilled child neglect lawyer can defend your case and protect your parental rights.

Santa Rosa Child Neglect Lawyer

Child Neglect Attorneys in Santa Rosa, CA

The team at the Carroll Law Office has been a leader in family law representation in the Santa Rosa area for years. Providing comprehensive legal counsel to local families, our attorneys have guided clients through challenging legal cases. We understand the emotional weight being faced by any parent at the prospect of losing rights to their children.

For this reason, we take every child neglect case seriously, working diligently to keep parents and children together in a healthy and safe environment. By partnering with an attorney at the Carroll Law Office, you can expect to receive compassionate and understanding legal care throughout your case.

What Is Child Neglect?

California law addresses child endangerment and neglect with a misdemeanor charge to any parent of a minor child who fails to provide necessities to their child, such as food, clothing, medicine, shelter, or other care. To qualify as neglect, the action or omission must be both willful and without legal excuse. Generally, there are four categories of neglect: 

  • Physical neglect. This includes any failure to provide physical needs, such as proper clothing, meals, bedding, or special needs accommodations.
  • Emotional neglect. This includes actions or inactions that can cause emotional damage, such as isolating the child, ignoring them, failing to provide proper stimulation, intimidating them, or humiliating the child.
  • Medical neglect. This includes failure to provide all proper health care, such as regular dental visits, check-ups, medical recommendations, emergency care, or special needs accommodations.
  • Educational neglect. This includes failing to provide proper learning for the child, whether that means enrolling and taking them to school, teaching at home, or providing general foundational knowledge.

Who Can Report Claims of Child Neglect in California?

According to California law, anyone can report a suspicion of child neglect to Child Protective Services (CPS). In fact, anyone who is concerned for a child’s safety or well-being is encouraged to contact CPS to investigate. Claims of child neglect are to be taken seriously in every case. This is to protect the well-being of every child.

There are, however, individuals who are legally required to report suspicions if there are signs indicating possible neglect. They include, though are not limited to: 

  • Teachers and other education personnel
  • Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, including school counselors
  • Childcare providers
  • Social workers
  • Pastors, priests, and other religious clergymen
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Firefighters
  • Foster parents

Anyone who works in a public service role or has legal temporary care over a child is known as a mandated reporter, holding them legally responsible for reporting and not reporting.

How Does Child Protective Services Get Involved?

Child Protective Services is the primary organization tasked with ensuring that children in California are free from any form of abuse or neglect. CPS will intervene if a claim is made based on a suspicion of neglect for any minor child. Whether this claim or concern comes from a mandated reporter or from a concerned private citizen, CPS is obligated to investigate every claim with the presumption of truth.

Because of the seriousness with which child neglect claims are handled, it is important that you speak with a qualified and skilled family law attorney. While all claims should be taken seriously, not all claims are valid, and your attorney can help defend you and your case against false claims of neglect by presenting contrary evidence and establishing proof of proper caretaking.

FAQs About Santa Rosa, CA Child Neglect Laws

How Do You Prove Child Neglect?

Proving child neglect involves demonstrating that there was a willful failure on the part of a parent or legal guardian to provide for a child’s needs. Furthermore, this failure, whether through action or omission, must also be without lawful excuse. While it doesn’t constitute definitive evidence, common signs of neglect include:

  • Poor appearance
  • Developmental problems
  • Clinginess
  • Drastic changes in behavior without explanation

Authorities look for signs of aggression, depression, and social withdrawal as red flags for possible child neglect.

What Is Considered Child Neglect in California?

California considers any failure on the part of a parent or legal guardian to adequately provide for a child’s needs, whether physically, emotionally, medically, and/or educationally, an act of child neglect. This can be either through action or inaction as long as the failure was both willful and without lawful excuse. Neglect can be categorized in one of two ways under California law: severe neglect and general neglect. The two degrees of neglect are distinguished by the severity of the child’s resulting medical condition.

What Are Examples of Child Neglect?

Child neglect can be physical, emotional, medical, or educational. Examples include:

  • Failing to provide proper supervision, food, clothing, or shelter
  • Ignoring, isolating, or humiliating a child
  • Failing to provide dental care or necessary medical treatments
  • Failing to teach, school, or accommodate special educational needs

All these constitute child neglect. It is important to remember that child neglect is considered a form of child abuse.

What Can CPS Do and Not Do in California?

Child Protective Services (CPS) has a lot of authoritative power when making determinations about the suitability of a home in response to a child abuse or neglect claim. For example, they can:

  • Investigate any claim, regardless of basis.
  • Speak to children without parental permission.
  • Show up to your house unannounced.
  • Terminate parental rights.

However, they cannot enter your home without permission or force you to take a drug test without a valid court order.

Child Neglect Representation in Santa Rosa, CA

If you’ve been charged with child neglect, speak with a Santa Rosa child neglect attorney to discuss your options. The team at the Carroll Law Office can work diligently to protect your rights as a parent and challenge any evidence to reach a just and favorable outcome. Contact our office for a consultation today.


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