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Parental Abandonment

  • By: Dennis A. Balcom
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Parental abandonment of children occurs when a parent voluntarily chooses to leave and to no longer have contact with his or her child. Physical absence is the signature form of parental abandonment, with concurrent economical, emotional, and psychological absence. For the abandoned child, detrimental impact comes from the combination of physical, emotional, and psychological absence.

Parental abandonment is also a legal act with varying definitions across jurisdictions. The generally recognized proof of abandonment is the absence of economic support (child support payments) or the legal relinquishment of parental rights as in the case of allowing a child to be adopted, as described by Mary Ann Glendon. Children can be abandoned at any age from birth through adulthood, which is generally considered to be 18 years of ...

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