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Neglect or Endangerment of a Child

Parents who have been accused of neglecting or endangering their children not only risk possibly losing custody but can also face criminal charges. It is difficult enough for people to handle allegations of failing to properly care for children, but the added prospect of possible incarceration and fines creates even more stress.

Unfortunately, allegations of child endangerment or neglect can be common in heated divorce or child custody cases. One parent may report the other in hopes of using the criminal record for leverage in proceedings related to family affairs.

Lawyer for Child Neglect or Endangerment in Apple Valley, MN

Were you arrested or do you suspect that you could be under investigation for endangerment or neglect of a child in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation.

James Blumberg of James Blumberg Law is a criminal defense attorney in Apple Valley who also represents clients in Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville, Minnetonka, St. Cloud, Bloomington, and surrounding areas. He can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation.


Minnesota Felony Domestic Assault Information Center


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Child Neglect Penalties in Dakota County

Under Minnesota Statute § 609.378, a parent, legal guardian, or caretaker can be charged with neglect of a child if he or she willfully deprives a child of necessary food, clothing, shelter, health care, or supervision appropriate to the child's age when that parent, guardian, or caretaker is reasonably able to make the necessary provisions and the deprivation harmed or was likely to substantially harm the child's physical, mental, or emotional health. A parent, legal guardian, or caretaker can also be charged with neglect of a child if he or she knowingly permits the continuing physical or sexual abuse of a child.

These offenses are classified as gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $3,000. If deprivation of food, clothing, shelter, health care, or supervision resulted in substantial harm to the child's physical, mental, or emotional health, the crime is classified as a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Subdivision 2 of Minnesota Statute § 609.378 does establish it can be a defense for alleged offenders accused of knowingly permitting the continuing physical or sexual abuse of a child to claim that there was a “reasonable apprehension” in their minds that acting to stop or prevent the neglect would have resulted in substantial bodily harm to themselves or the child in retaliation. Parents, guardians, or caretakers responsible for a child's care who in good faith select and depend upon spiritual means or prayer for treatment or care of disease or remedial care of the child are also allowed to have such treatment or care accepted as health care for the purposes of this statute.

The adverbs used in these statutes also provide the basis for many defenses. Prosecutors may have a difficult time proving beyond a reasonable doubt that alleged offenders willfully or knowingly neglected their children.


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Child Endangerment Penalties in Apple Valley

Parents, legal guardians, or caretakers can be charged with child endangerment under the same statute if they do any of the following:

  • Intentionally or recklessly cause or permit a child to be placed in a situation likely to substantially harm the child's physical, mental, or emotional health or cause the child's death;
  • Knowingly cause or permit the child to be present where any person is selling, manufacturing, possessing immediate precursors or chemical substances with intent to manufacture, or possessing a controlled substance; or
  • Intentionally or recklessly cause a child under 14 years of age to be placed in a situation likely to substantially harm the child's physical health or cause the child's death as a result of the child's access to a loaded firearm.

These offenses are generally classified as gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $3,000. If the endangerment relating to firearm access results in substantial harm to the child's physical health or if the other forms of endangerment result in substantial harm to the child's physical, mental, or emotional health, the crime is classified as a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Much like child neglect charges relating to continuing physical or sexual abuse of a child, Subdivision 2 of Minnesota Statute § 609.378 establishes that alleged offenders accused or non-firearm related child neglect are also allowed to use fears of acting to stop or prevent endangerment would have resulted in substantial bodily harm to themselves or the child in retaliation as defenses against these charges.


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Minnesota Resources for Neglect or Endangerment of a Child

Child Protection | Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) — Visit this section of the DHS website to learn more about what is considered neglect and how to report neglect. You can also find information about Minnesota Child Maltreatment Screening Guidelines, the reporting process, and how child protection helps families. DHS has multiple offices in Dakota County, including the following office in Apple Valley:

Dakota County Social Services
Western Service Center
14955 Galaxie Avenue
Apple Valley, MN 55124-8581
(952) 891-7400

360 Communities — Founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization serving the south suburban metropolitan area of the Twin Cities, 360 Communities now has more than 40 locations. On this website, you can learn about the organization’s emergency food shelves, family resource centers, and various awareness services. You can also find recent news, a listing of upcoming events, and ways to get involved.

501 East Highway 13
Suite 102
Burnsville, MN 55337
(952) 985-5300

Safe Families for Children — Located in 70 cities throughout the United States as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and other countries, Safe Families hosts vulnerable children. You can learn more about how Safe Families works, what their various locations are, and find answers to frequently asked questions on this website. The organization has multiple Minnesota locations, with the closest to Apple Valley at the following address:

Safe Families for Children Twin Cities
711 10th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 518-5986


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Find a Lawyer for Child Neglect or Endangerment Arrests in Dakota County

If you believe that you might be under investigation or you were arrested for alleged child endangerment or neglect in the Twin Cities, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel before speaking to authorities. James Blumberg Law aggressively defends clients accused of domestic violence in Carver County, Dakota County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Scott County, Washington County, and Anoka County.

Apple Valley criminal defense attorney James Blumberg is a former prosecutor with more than a decade of experience who represents individuals in communities such as Plymouth, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Coon Rapids, Brooklyn Park, Blaine, and Woodbury. Call (952) 431-7758 or fill out an online contact form right now to set up a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyer review your case.


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James L. Blumberg

Attorney James L. Blumberg

As a former prosecutor in the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, James Blumberg has experience on both sides of the criminal courtroom. He knows how to fight to get charges reduced or dismissed for clients in the Twin Cities area.

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