Under current law, a child is neglected or dependent if the child's environment is injurious to the child's welfare. The bill clarifies that the child's environment is injurious to the child's welfare because the child's parent has placed the child in or failed to remove the child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child's level of maturity, physical condition, or mental ability and that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate and grave harm as a result of a blatant disregard of parent or caretaker responsibilities.
A child is not neglected or dependent if a child who is of sufficient maturity, physical condition, and mental ability is left by the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, under conditions that are reasonably deemed safe and secure sufficient to avoid substantial risk of physical harm, to engage in independent activities specified in the bill.
The bill amends the criminal code to reflect that a person does not commit child abuse if the person is exercising reasonable judgment in allowing a child to engage in independent activities as described in language added to the dependency or neglect statute in the bill.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)