Aggravated Child Neglect in Florida
Under Florida Statute 827.03(2)(b), the crime of Aggravated Child Neglect is defined as a caregiver neglecting a child in a willful or culpably negligent manner that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.
Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide a child with the essential care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health, or fails to take reasonable steps to protect the child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.
Neglect of a child may be based on repeated conduct or on a single incident or omission that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death, to a child.
A child is defined as any person under the age of 18 and a caregiver is defined as a parent, adult household member, or other person responsible for the child's welfare.
Penalties for Aggravated Child Neglect
In Florida, the crime of Aggravated Child Abuse is a Second Degree Felony and punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison, fifteen (15) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated Child Abuse is assigned a Level 8 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code. Absent grounds for a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Aggravated Child Abuse to a minimum sentence of 34½ months in prison, but may also sentence the person up to the statutory maximum of 15 years in prison.
Defenses to Aggravated Child Neglect
The degree of negligence required to sustain a conviction for Aggravated Child Neglect is as high as that required for the imposition of punitive damages in a civil action; thus simple negligence will not support an Aggravated Child Neglect conviction; even if the negligence causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child. 
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