Children’s Division and Teaching Your Kid to Drive

Not the actual car in the case.

They won’t take your kids just because you teach them to drive.

Daughter, 14 years old, had an accident with injury while mom’s boyfriend was teaching her to drive. Children’s Division substantiated a hotline against the boyfriend for neglect. Substantiation was upheld at the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board. Trial de novo held in circuit court. Trial court found Division failed to prove at evidentiary hearing that the boyfriend neglected the daughter and ordered his name removed from the Central Registry. Division appealed but the trial court’s finding was affirmed. Division had the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Mother’s boyfriend neglected daughter. Division argued boyfriend was negligent in violating statute about unlicensed operator driving the vehicle. “Negligence” and “neglect” are not the same. “Negligence” is based upon an external and objective standard of conduct, not personal or subjective intent. “Neglect” focuses on physical deprivation or harm and the intent, generally inferred, determined by conduct. Subjective intent may or may not be considered by the court. Trial court believed boyfriend that he did not intend to harm daughter or physically deprive her of anything. Negligence is not necessarily neglect. In the Interest of Sercl, No. SD33396 (Mo.App. S.D. July 22, 2015).

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