Child Protection Laws in Kansas
If you have a child through a previous relationship and the other parent is being abusive, you may want to intervene or even report the situation if you can’t resolve it yourself. The same holds true if it’s your grandchild or other relative being subjected to the abuse.
Like all states, Kansas has enacted many statutes covering the safety and welfare of children, ranging from abuse and endangerment to abandonment, incest, and even moral corruption and child pornography.
For more than four decades, the Jeffers Law Office has been helping people resolve issues of family law in and around Overland Park, Kansas, including the nearby communities of Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, and Prairie Village.
If you’re concerned that a child or grandchild of yours is being abused, contact us immediately. We can discuss the situation and weigh the best options available for resolving the situation. Our motto is “peace-making and problem-solving” but we also know all the legal remedies available.
Child Protection Laws in Kansas
The Kansas Statutes Annotated, Chapter 21, covers important laws protecting children including:
Child Endangerment (section 21-5601) - Child endangerment can be classified as endangering a child or aggravated endangering a child. One difference between simple endangering and aggravated endangering is the first must be done “knowingly” and the second “recklessly.” Otherwise, the descriptions read basically the same: “causing or permitting a child under the age of 18 years to be placed in a situation in which the child's life, body or health is endangered.” Drugs are often involved in aggravated endangering.
Endangering is a misdemeanor, while aggravated endangering is a felony.
Child Abuse (section 21-5602) - Abuse of a child is described as torturing or cruelling beating or shaking that causes great bodily harm, and/or inflicting cruel and inhuman corporal punishment. Abuse is also a felony.
Contributing To Misconduct And Deprivation (section 21-5603) - This section contains many clauses, including harboring a runaway, encouraging a child to commit a crime or traffic violation, causing or encouraging a child under 18 to become or remain a child in need of care, or encouraging a child to violate the terms of his or her probation. Depending on the clause, the offense can be either a misdemeanor or felony.
Incest (section 21-5604) - Incest is marriage or sexual intercourse or sodomy with someone related to you who is 18 or older. Aggravated incest is with someone under 18 years of age. The under-age party could be one’s child, grandchild of any degree, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece. Both offenses are felonies but of differing degrees.
Abandonment (section 21-5605) - Abandonment refers to the act of leaving a child under 16 in the custody and/or place where the child may suffer because of neglect at the hands of the parent, custodian, or other person. Aggravated abandonment can be charged when the child suffers great bodily harm. Both acts are felonies.
Unlawful Visual Depiction (sections 21-5610 and 21-5611) - These sections make it unlawful for anyone younger than 19 to possess a nude visual depiction of a child 12 to 15 years old. Possession is a misdemeanor. Transmission of such a visual image is also a misdemeanor. Aggravated transmission, a felony, occurs if the visual depiction is sold or used with “the intent to harass, embarrass, intimidate, defame or otherwise inflict emotional, psychological or physical harm.”
Revised Kansas Code of Care of Children
Chapter 38, Article 22, of the Kansas Statutes Annotated has come to be known as the Revised Kansas Code of Care of Children. Sections 2201 through 2291 describe the judicial and other procedures for dealing with cases of child abandonment and neglect.
The Revised Code defines abandonment as to “forsake, desert or, without making appropriate provision for substitute care, cease providing care for the child.”
Neglect is defined as “acts or omissions by a parent, guardian, or person responsible for the care of a child resulting in harm to a child, or presenting a likelihood of harm, and the acts or omissions are not due solely to the lack of financial means of the child's parents or other custodian.”
The code provides for concerned the State, and in some rare instances for individuals, to file a petition to get a person under the age of 18 to be declared a “child in need of care,” which can lead to placement of the child in a new setting and/or with a new guardian/custodian.
If your child is living or spending time with the other parent and you suspect that abuse, neglect, or other endangering practices are being carried out, since you are also a parent you can seek a restraining order. Or you can go back to court and try to get custody modified, to remove them from a potentially harmful situation.
Either of these steps is going to be accompanied by great stress and emotions. That’s why you’re going to need the services of an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney. Both choices represent tough, life-shattering decisions.
Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) is a legal process that strips a parent of his or her right to care for their child. TPR must be court-ordered, and it usually only occurs after a child has been removed from a parent’s custody because of abandonment, abuse, or other child protective violation. TPR is invoked only when the parent is deemed unfit or unable to care for their child.
Working With an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you suspect abuse by the other parent of your child or another family member, you need to seek the counsel and guidance of a knowledgeable, compassionate family law attorney. There may be legal steps you can take to resolve the situation, but there also may be ways to work toward a mutually favorable conclusion outside of court and the legal process.
When you contact the Jeffers Law Office, we can discuss your situation and weigh your options, but if you suspect abuse, please act quickly. An abused or abandoned child can end up scarred for life.
The Jeffers Law Office will conduct a free initial telephone consultation. We serve clients in and around Overland Park, Kansas, and throughout the counties of Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami, and Leavenworth.