Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect Maine

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Statute: Tit. 22, 4002(1), (1-A), (1-B), (6), (9), (9-B), (9-C), (10), (11); 4010(1)


Threat to child's health or welfare

Deprivation of essential needs

Lack of protection


Religious exemption

Categories of Maltreatment Defined in Statute

Physical abuse


Sexual abuse

Sexual exploitation

Emotional/mental injury


Categories of Maltreatment Not Defined in Statute


Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, 4002(1), (1-A), (1-B), (2), (6), (7), (9), (9-B), (9-C), (10), (11) (West, WESTLAW through 2001 1st Reg. Sess.)

'Abuse or neglect' means a threat to a child's health or welfare by physical, mental or emotional injury or impairment, sexual abuse or exploitation, deprivation of essential needs or lack of protection from these, by a person responsible for the child.

'Abandonment' means any conduct on the part of the parent showing an intent to forego parental duties or relinquish parental claims. The intent may be evidenced by:

Failure, for a period of at least 6 months, to communicate meaningfully with the child;
Failure, for a period of at least 6 months, to maintain regular visitation with the child;
Failure to participate in any plan or program designed to reunite the parent with the child;
Deserting the child without affording means of identifying the child and his parent or custodian;

Failure to respond to notice of child protective proceedings; or

Any other conduct indicating an intent to forego parental duties or relinquish parental claims.

'Child' means any person who is less than 18 years of age.

'Jeopardy to health or welfare' or 'jeopardy' means serious abuse or neglect, as evidenced by:

Serious harm or threat of serious harm;

Deprivation of adequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision or care, including health care when that deprivation causes a threat of serious harm;

Abandonment of the child or absence of any person responsible for the child, which creates a threat of serious harm; or

The end of voluntary placement, when the imminent return of the child to his custodian causes a threat of serious harm.

'Parent' means a natural or adoptive parent, unless parental rights have been terminated.

'Person responsible for the child' means a person with responsibility for a child's health or welfare, whether in the child's home or another home or a facility which, as part of its function, provides for care of the child. It includes the child's custodian.

'Serious harm' means:

Serious injury;

Serious mental or emotional injury or impairment which now or in the future is likely to be evidenced by serious mental, behavioral or personality disorder, including severe anxiety, depression or withdrawal, untoward aggressive behavior, seriously delayed development or similar serious dysfunctional behavior; or
Sexual abuse or exploitation.

'Serious injury' means serious physical injury or impairment.


Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, 4010(1) (West 1992)

A child shall not be considered to be abused or neglected, in jeopardy of health or welfare or in danger of serious harm solely because treatment is by spiritual means by an accredited practitioner of a recognized religious organization.
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