First Degree Abandonment
Missouri Revised Statute (RsMo) 568.030 prohibits a parent or legal guardian from leaving a child under the age of 4 in a place in which circumstances could result in serious physical harm or death of the child. This crime constitutes first degree abandonment of a child and is a Class B felony. Conviction of the offense could result in imprisonment of 5 to 15 years.
Second Degree Abandonment
A parent or legal guardian who abandons a child under the age of 8 in circumstances that may lead to serious injury or death of the child will be charged with second degree child abandonment as per RsMo 568.032. The offense is classified as a Class D felony and a conviction may result in imprisonment of up to four years.
Safe Haven Law
Missouri law (RsMo 210.950.1) allows a parent or guardian to leave a child up to 1 year of age in the custody of designated individuals such as law enforcement, firefighters or medical personnel without prosecution of abandonment or endangerment of a child. Leaving the child at one of the specified safe locations is considered a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights and a legal process to terminate parental rights will ensue.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
If a parent has not provided support for or attempted communication or visitation with a child over the age of 1 for at least six months, it may result in termination of parental rights as stated in RsMo 211.447.4.
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