About Child Abandonment

  • What is Abandonment?

    In general, abandonment is typically considered to be when a custodial parent or guardian leaves a young child (most states consider young children to be those under the age of 14) without supervision or a means of support for a specified period of time with little or no regard to the child's health, safety, or welfare. The time period required to qualify as abandonment differs depending on the situation and the child’s age.

  • Abandonment Laws

    The concept of child abandonment may seem quite simple: A person leaves a child somewhere without the intention of returning. State laws defining child abandonment can vary. Some may define it as actual instances of abandonment, while others may invoke it in cases involving child neglect. Any child custody attorney can evaluate the unique circumstances that will determine whether or not it qualifies as abandonment.

  • Abandonment Examples

    If a parent leaves a child at home unsupervised or with an irresponsible person for a few days, typically, this will qualify as abandonment. The same may be true when a person leaves a child in the care of another for several months without maintaining regular communication with the child or providing the caretaker with support and giving no indication of when he or she may be returning to pick up the child.

Safe Haven Laws

There are exceptions to child abandonment laws. One of the more common are Safe Haven laws. These allow women to leave newborn babies in safe locations in order to guarantee the children's placement in state custody. Women are usually allowed to do this without having to answer questions as to their motives. Locations deemed to be "safe" typically include hospitals, fire stations, and churches.