An 11-year-old boy was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse after his disabled mother was beaten so severely with an extension cord that she was hospitalized, authorities said.
Prosecutors said the boy appeared to be the primary caregiver of his 51-year-old mother and prepared meals and did laundry in the home they shared.
He was in custody at Juvenile Hall, with a hearing set Thursday. His name has not been released.
The boy was arrested Monday after officers visited his mother and talked to him at school. Details about the mother's disability have not been released.
A third party told police about the suspected abuse, Elk Grove police spokesman Christopher Trim told the Sacramento Bee (sacb.ee/Os8aP9).
Trim called it one of the more unusual cases he has seen.
"Typically the situation is reversed," he said. "A kid will go to school with marks or bruises, and someone calls police and the parent is arrested."
Authorities said another person took care of the woman from time to time, but it was not known how long the boy had been involved or if authorities were aware of the situation.
Laura McCasland, a spokeswoman for the county Department of Health and Human Services, said she was unfamiliar with the case. However, child labor laws prohibit anyone under age 14 from working as a caregiver through the In-Home Supportive Services program, she said.
The mother likely will qualify for help through California's Adult Protective Services program designed to ensure the safety of dependent adults, the newspaper reported.
"There is quite a bit more to it, and it's very sad," Trim said. "As tragic as it is, fortunately we do not have a death and we can step in and provide resources to the victim and hopefully to the offender as well."