7948.21 Neglecting a child.
In this section:
(a) “Child sex offense" means an offense under s. 948.02, 948.025, 948.05, 9
948.051, 948.055, 948.06, 948.07, 948.08, 948.10, 948.11, or 948.12.
(b) “Emotional damage" has the meaning given in s. 48.02 (5j).
(c) “Necessary care" means the care that is critical to a child's physical or 12
emotional health, safety, welfare, or development, based on all of the facts and 13
circumstances, such as the child's age, physical or emotional condition, and any 14
special needs of the child. “Necessary care" includes any of the following:
1. Adequate food.
2. Adequate clothing.
3. Adequate medical care.
4. The opportunity for education.
5. Adequate shelter.
6. Adequate supervision.
7. The protection from exposure to the distribution, manufacture, or use of 22
controlled substances, as defined in s. 961.01 (4).
(d) “Negligently” means acting, or failing to act, in such a way that a reasonable 24
person would know or should know seriously endangers the physical, mental, or 25
emotional health of a child.
Any person who is responsible for a child's welfare who, for 2
reasons other than poverty, negligently fails, or contributes to the failure, to provide 3
the child with necessary care commits neglect, even if the child does not actually 4
suffer from neglect if the natural and probable consequences of the failure would be 5
that the child suffers from neglect. A person who commits neglect is guilty of the 6
(a) A Class D felony if the child suffers death as a consequence.
(b) A Class F felony if any of the following applies:
1. The child suffers great bodily harm as a consequence.
2. The child becomes a victim of a child sex offense as a consequence.
(c) A Class G felony if the child suffers emotional damage as a consequence.
(d) A Class H felony if the child suffers bodily harm as a consequence.
(e) A Class I felony if any of the following applies:
1. The commission creates an unreasonable and substantial risk of great bodily 15
harm to the child.
2. The commission creates an unreasonable and substantial risk that the child 17
could become a victim of a child sex offense.
(f) A Class A misdemeanor if the commission creates an unreasonable and 19
substantial risk of bodily harm to the child.
20(3) Rebuttable presumption.
A rebuttable presumption that an action creates 21
an unreasonable and substantial risk of the harm described under sub. (2) (e) 1. or 22
2., whichever is applicable, exists under any of the following circumstances:
(a) The child had not attained the age of 6 years when the action was 24
(b) The child has a physical, cognitive, or developmental disability that was 2
known or should have been known by the actor.
3(4) Repeated acts of neglect of same child.
(a) Any person who commits 3 4
or more violations under sub. (2) within a specified period of time involving the same 5
child is guilty of the following:
1. A Class B felony if the child suffers death as a consequence.
2. A Class D felony if any of the following applies:
a. The child suffers great bodily harm as a consequence.
b. The child becomes the victim of a child sex offense as a consequence.
3. A Class E felony if the child suffers emotional damage as a consequence.
4. A Class F felony if the child suffers bodily harm as a consequence.
5. A Class H felony.
(b) If an action under par. (a) is tried to a jury, in order to find the defendant 14
guilty the members of the jury must unanimously agree that at least 3 violations of 15
sub. (2) involving the same child occurred within the specified period but need not 16
agree on which acts constitute the requisite number or which acts resulted in any 17
(c) The state may not charge in the same action a person with a violation of this 19
subsection and with a violation involving the same child under sub. (2), unless the 20
violation of sub. (2) occurred outside of the period applicable under par. (a).