The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 22-year-old dad Sunday on a charge of child neglect after he allegedly left two small children alone. A neighbor found a 2-year-old child sitting alone in the street and a deputy found a 10-month-old baby asleep alone on a couch inside the man’s home.
The neighbor took the 2-year-old and called the police when the parents could not be located. The child was not wearing shoes and supposedly told police that he sat down because his feet were burning.
According to police reports, the father returned home about 35 minutes after the deputy found the sleeping baby alone. He told the deputy he had been at a neighbor’s for about 10 minutes.
The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported that approximately 1,760 children died of an injury caused by neglect or abuse in 2007. Nearly 600 of those deaths were the result of child neglect alone.
In Florida, child neglect is defined as depriving a child of food, shelter, clothing or medical care, supervision or even the mishandling of child support money. When deprivation or the state of a child’s environment causes the child to become emotionally, mentally or physically impaired, Florida also considers this child neglect. The crime of child neglect is considered a felony of the third degree in Florida. If convicted of child neglect, the penalties can include up to five years in prison, up to five years of probation and up to $5,000 in fines.
If you have been charged with child neglect in the state of Florida, contact the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call 352-666-2121 or 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).