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Endangering Welfare of Children

Pennsylvania's statute prohibiting endangering the welfare of a child is often called “EWOC”. The criminal charge of Endangering the Welfare of a Child may be committed either by doing something affirmative (an overt act) or not doing something (an omission). Allegations of EWOC often involve acts committed by a parent when punishing a child for bad behavior.

The offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor in the first degree or a felony in the third degree depending on the allegations. The purpose of the child endangerment statute is to protect a child's physical and psychological welfare. In many jurisdictions, these charges are called "child abuse."

Philadelphia Child Endangerment Lawyer

If you were charged with child endangerment or any form of child abuse in Pennsylvania, then contact a criminal defense attorney at Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC. We represent clients throughout the surrounding areas of Bucks County, Chester County, Montgomery County and Delaware County, PA.


Pennsylvania Child Endangerment Information Center


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Types of Child Endangerment

The statutory language of 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4304 provides for two alternative ways of proving the offense. First, under § 4304(a)(1), a parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age, or a person that employs or supervises such a person, commits an offense if he knowingly endangers the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support.

Second, under § 4304(a)(2), a person commits a criminal offense if the person, in an official capacity, prevents or interferes with the making of a report of suspected child abuse under 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to child protective services).

The term “person supervising the welfare of a child” means a person other than a parent or guardian that provides care, education, training or control of a child.


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Classification of Child Endangerment

In most cases, child endangerment is charged as a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, where it is alleged that there is a "course of conduct" of endangering the welfare of a child, then the offense can be charged as a felony of the third degree.

Additional penalties apply for felony charges involving sexual conduct with the victim. Under Section 9718.1(a) of the Crimes Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § 9718.1(a), a person, including an offender designated as a ‘sexually violent predator’ must attend and participate in a Department of Corrections program of counseling or therapy designed for incarcerated sex offenders if the person is incarcerated in a State institution for certain crimes including Section 4304 relating to endangering welfare of children if the offense involved sexual contact with the victim.


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Additional Resources on Child Endangerment

Department of Human Services on Child Endangerment - In Philadelphia, the Department of Human Services operates a 24 hour hotline for reports of possible child abuse, neglect or child endangerment. The website provides tips for reporting child abuse and explains the reporting requirements for certain professionals that have reasonable cause to suspect child support during the during the course of their employment.


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Finding an Attorney in Philadelphia for Child Endangerment

If you have been arrested for child endangerment or accused of any form of child abuse, contact a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Call the attorneys at Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC to discuss the facts of your case.

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