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Abandoning and endangering a child are two different offenses, but they are both found in Texas Penal Code Section 22.041 (a)-(b). In Tarrant County, you may see the charge listed as “ABAND END CHILD.” This article explains the offense of Abandoning a Child and the offense of Endangering a Child in Texas.
Abandoning a child is an allegation that a person left a child under the age of 15 without reasonable supervision or care.
To abandon means to leave the child in a place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child, in circumstances which no other reasonable adult would leave that same child.
Endangering a child is defined in Section 22.041(c). A person commits this offense when he or she places a child under the age of 15 in a situation where the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury or physical or mental impairment. This can be done intentionally, knowingly, or even negligently.
A person is presumed to have endangered a child if they:
Abandoning a child is a state jail felony, if the accused intended to return for the child.
Abandoning a child is a third degree felony if the accused did not intend to return for the child.
Abandoning a child is a second degree felony of the accused abandoned the child in a manner that a reasonable person would believe placed the child in imminent danger of death or bodily injury.
Endangering a Child is a state jail felony.
Family Code 261.101 sets a fairly low bar for reporting child abuse and neglect. It provides that any person who has reason to believe a child’s physical or mental welfare has been adversely affected must make a report to law enforcement or Department of Family and Protective Services.
Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000. The punishment can be increased to a State Jail Felony if it is shown that the accused intended to conceal the abuse or neglect.
A person who makes a false report with the intent to deceive commits a state jail felony offense under Family Code 261.107.