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Posted on in Criminal Law Blog

Illinois family lawIllinois law is committed, as a general rule, to safeguarding the welfare and the best interests of the state’s children. Parents’ interests are subordinate to the rights of children to have safe and loving homes, which is why any allegation of child abuse, neglect or endangerment is taken extremely seriously by authorities. If you have been accused of child endangerment, it is imperative that you understand the nature of this allegation against you so that you can respond appropriately, regardless of your innocence or guilt.

Definitions and Examples

Child endangerment is defined under Illinois law as causing or allowing a child to be “placed in circumstances that endanger the child's life or health.” This may sound quite vague, but most judges are not interested in pushing the boundaries simply because in extreme circumstances, anything and everything might be dangerous to a child’s life or health. A fact-finder will be interested in immediately threatening or dangerous actions as a general rule - examples would include leaving a young child unattended for more than 10 minutes, indulging in violent behavior or the use of illegal substances in the child’s presence.

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child abuse charges in Illinois, DuPage County sex crimes defense lawyerIn most instances, it is not a crime to fail to report a crime. However, the Illinois government finds that some crimes are so severe, that it has made it a crime to fail to report such crimes. Failing to report suspected child abuse is one such crime that the government has mandated “mandatory reporting” for certain individuals that share a unique relationship with children, particularly teachers.

The Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act is the codified law that requires that school teachers, among other groups of individuals, report child abuse when they have “reasonable cause to believe” that a child is being abused. The notable aspect of this law is that is has been sparsely used by prosecutors since its inception in 1975. One recent case has brought the law to the forefront, however, and serves as a reminder that some of us have obligations to file reports if we have suspicions of child abuse. This particular case actually involves allegations of sexual misconduct between a teacher and a student, but extends to all teachers that have authority over children.

Mandatory Reporting Laws in Illinois

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