Although the penalties for child abandonment vary from state to state, the act of abandoning a child is considered to be one of the most serious offenses with regard to family law; states such as Georgia have been known to charge perpetrators of child abandonment with misdemeanors as a result of placing a child’s safety in jeopardy upon abandonment.
The age of the child who has been abandoned, as well as the ability to identify the abandoned child, regulates the action of recourse taken. In the event that a next of kin is available and willing to adopt the abandoned child, the child abandoned can be placed into the custody of that next of kin. However, in the tragic event that an infant is abandoned, that infant becomes a ward of the state; the child’s safety becomes the responsibility of the state.
The most common fate for an abandoned child is the placement of that child in foster care.