Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Idaho

Date: May 2022

Physical Abuse

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1602

'Abused' means any case in which a child has been the victim of conduct or omission resulting in skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, burns, fracture of any bone, head injury, soft tissue swelling, failure to thrive, or death, and such condition or death is not justifiably explained; the history given concerning such condition or death is inconsistent with the degree or type of such condition or death; or the circumstances indicate that such condition or death may not be the product of an accidental occurrence.


Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1602

'Neglected' means a child to whom any of the following applies:

  • Who is without proper parental care and control, subsistence, medical care, or other care necessary for their well-being because of the conduct or omission of their parents, guardian, or other custodian or their neglect or refusal to provide care
  • Whose parents, guardian, or other custodian is unable to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child, and, as a result of such inability, the child lacks the parental care necessary for their health, safety, or well-being
  • Who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of the law
  • Who is without proper education because of failure to comply with § 33-202

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1602

The term 'abused' applies to any case in which a child has been the victim of any of the following conduct:

  • Sexual conduct, including rape, molestation, incest, or prostitution
  • Obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depiction for commercial purposes
  • Human trafficking, as defined in § 18-8602
  • Other similar forms of sexual exploitation that harms or threatens the child's health or welfare or mental injury to the child

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1602

'Mental injury' means a substantial impairment in the intellectual or psychological ability of a child to function within a normal range of performance and/or behavior, for short or long terms.


Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1602

'Abandoned' means the failure of the parent to maintain a normal parental relationship with their child, including, but not limited to, reasonable support or regular personal contact. Failure to maintain this relationship without just cause for a period of 1 year shall constitute prima facie evidence of abandonment.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1605

A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reason to believe that a child younger than age 18 has been abused, abandoned, or neglected or observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1602

'Responsible persons' include the parent, guardian, or other custodian.


Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1602

No child whose parent or guardian chooses for the child treatment by prayers through spiritual means in lieu of medical treatment shall be deemed, for that reason alone, to be neglected or lack parental care necessary for their health and well-being. This section shall not prevent the court from ordering emergency medical treatment when the child's life is endangered.