In this article we explain the definitions of child abuse and child neglect in Illinois according to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (325 ILCS 5/) .
In a previous article, How to Remove a Child From the Parent’s Custody, we explained how to report child abuse or neglect to the DCFS, what types of professionals are responsible for reporting abuse or neglect, the penalties for failing to report, and the process that occurs after child abuse or neglect are reported. We also explained how to directly file a petition to have the State’s attorney remove an abused or neglected child from the parent’s custody.
Child abuse is defined by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act as follows:
Although there are many obvious specifics referenced in the statute, the definition of child abuse is quite broad as it includes causing or allowing to be caused “any impairment of physical or emotional health.” The acts that rise to this level are determined on a case by case basis by courts based on case law precedent.
Child neglect in Illinois is defined as allowing any of the following conditions to occur:
The definition of a neglected child also includes newborns whose blood or urine contains any amount of certain controlled substances.
The Act also carves out several instances that do not constitute abuse. Leaving a child with an adult relative for any period of time does not constitute abandonment. A child is not considered neglected or abused for the sole reason that the child’s caretaker depends on prayer alone to cure disease. Finally, a child is not considered neglected solely because the child fails to attend school as required by law.