Dependent Child Law and Legal Definition

Dependent child refers to a needy child who has been deprived of parental support or care because of the parent's or other responsible person's death, absence from the home, physical or mental incapacity, or unemployment.

Example of a State law (Washington) defining dependent child

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 13.34.030 defines dependent child as

"Dependent child" means any child who:

(a) Has been abandoned;

(b) Is abused or neglected as defined in chapter 26.44 RCW by a person legally responsible for the care of the child; or

(c) Has no parent, guardian, or custodian capable of adequately caring for the child, such that the child is in circumstances which constitute a danger of substantial damage to the child's psychological or physical development.

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 26.18.020 defines it as

"Dependent child" means any child for whom a support order has been established or for whom a duty of support is owed.