Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Wyoming

Date: May 2022

Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 14-3-202; 14-3-205

'Abuse' means inflicting or causing physical injury, harm, or imminent danger to the physical health or welfare of a child other than by accidental means, including excessive or unreasonable corporal punishment.

'Physical injury' means any harm to a child, including, but not limited to, disfigurement, impairment of any bodily organ, skin bruising if greater in magnitude than minor bruising associated with reasonable corporal punishment, bleeding, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, or substantial malnutrition.

Female genital mutilation under § 6-2-502(a)(v) when the victim is a minor shall be considered child abuse for mandatory reporting under this section.


Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-202

The term 'abuse' includes malnutrition or substantial risk of harm by reason of intentional or unintentional neglect.

'Neglect' means a failure or refusal by those responsible for the child's welfare to provide adequate care; maintenance; supervision; education; or medical, surgical, or any other care necessary for the child's well-being. For the purposes of education, 'neglect' includes willful absenteeism.

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-202

The term 'abuse' includes the commission or allowing the commission of a sexual offense against a child, as defined by law.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-202

The term 'abuse' includes inflicting or causing mental injury or harm to the mental health or welfare of the child.

'Mental injury' means an injury to the psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child as evidenced by an observable or substantial impairment in their ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior, with due regard to their culture.


Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-202

The term 'abuse' includes abandonment unless the abandonment is a relinquishment substantially in accordance with §§ 14-11-101 through 14-11-109.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-205

A report is required when any person knows or has reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or observes any child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-202

'A person responsible for a child's welfare' includes the following:

  • The child's parent, noncustodial parent, guardian, custodian, stepparent, or foster parent
  • Any other person, institution, or agency having the physical custody or control of the child


Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 14-3-202; 14-3-205

Treatment given in good faith by spiritual means alone through prayer by a duly accredited practitioner, in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, is not child neglect for that reason alone.

The fact a child, who is at least age 16, is homeless, as defined in § 14-1-102(d), shall not, in and of itself, constitute a sufficient basis for reporting neglect.