Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect Missouri

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Statute: §§ 210.110; 210.115(3)


Inflicted by non-accidental means


Corporal punishment

Religious exemption

Categories of Maltreatment Defined in Statute

Physical abuse


Sexual abuse

Emotional/mental injury

Categories of Maltreatment Not Defined in Statute

Sexual exploitation



Mo. Ann. Stat. § 210.110 (West, WESTLAW through End of 2001 1st Reg. Sess. & 1st Ex. Sess.)

'Abuse' means any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child's care, custody, and control.

'Child' means any person, regardless of physical or mental condition, under 18 years of age.

'Neglect' means failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child, the proper or necessary support, education as required by law, nutrition or medical, surgical, or any other care necessary for the child's well-being.

'Those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child' includes but is not limited to the parents or guardian of a child, other members of the child¿s household, or those exercising supervision over a child for any part of a 24-hour day. Those responsible for the care, custody and control shall also include any adult who, based on relationship to the parents of the child, members of the child's household or the family, has access to the child.


Mo. Ann. Stat. § 210.110(1) (West, WESTLAW through End of 2001 1st Reg. Sess. & 1st Ex. Sess.)

'Discipline,' including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse.

Mo. Ann. Stat. § 210.115(3) (West, WESTLAW through End of 2002 2nd Reg. Sess.)

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any child who does not receive specified medical treatment by reason of the legitimate practice of the religious belief of the child's parents, guardian, or others legally responsible for the child, for that reason alone, shall not be found to be an abused or neglected child, and such parents, guardian or other persons legally responsible for the child shall not be entered into the central registry. However, the Division may accept reports concerning such a child and may subsequently investigate or conduct a family assessment as a result of that report. Such an exception shall not limit the administrative or judicial authority of the State to ensure that medical services are provided to the child when the child's health requires it.
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