Child Neglect in Florida
Under Florida Statute 827.03(2)(d), the crime of Child Neglect is defined as a caregiver neglecting a child in a willful or culpably negligent manner.
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 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.
Child neglect 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. Likewise, child neglect can be based on a caregiver's failure to provide a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.
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 Child Neglect
In Florida, the crime of Child Neglect a Third Degree Felony and is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Child Neglect is assigned a Level 6 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code. A judge may sentence a person convicted of Child Neglect to probation, but may also sentence the person up to the statutory maximum of five years in prison.
Defenses to Child Neglect
The degree of negligence required to sustain a conviction for Child Neglect is as high as that required for the imposition of punitive damages in a civil action; thus simple negligence will not support a Child Neglect conviction. 
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