Expansion of Child Endangerment Offenses (SB310)


Under Tennessee law, a parent or custodian of a child 8 years of age or less has committed child endangerment if he or she knowingly exposes or knowingly fails to protect that child from abuse or neglect, which results in a physical injury. T.C.A. § 39-15-4(c). For the purposes of the statute, “knowingly” means that the person knew, or should have known upon a reasonably inquiry, that abuse or neglect of the child would occur, and result in physical injury to the child. Additionally, the failure to recognize this danger of injury constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable parent or legal custodian would have exercised under the same circumstances. T.C.A. § 39-15-4(c)(2)(A). As of July 1, 2017, the offense of child endangerment now includes a parent knowingly exposing a child to or failing to protect a child from abuse or neglect resulting in imminent danger to the child. “Imminent danger” means the existence of any condition or practice that could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious bodily injury.