Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.
Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs
- Provide adequate food, clothing, or shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment).
- Protect from physical and emotional harm or danger.
- Meet or respond to basic emotional needs.
- Ensure adequate supervision including the use of adequate carers.
- Ensure access to appropriate medical treatment.
- Ensure that his or her educational needs are met.
- Ensure that his/her opportunities for intellectual simulation are met.
- Prevent the exposure of the child to harmful parental behaviour such as violence or a chaotic lifestyle, often secondary to substance misuse, alcoholism or unresolved mental health issues.
- Ensure that the child has opportunities to mix with peers.
The above may play a cumulative part in isolating the child in society, eg at school because of body odour or head lice or because of violent behaviour.
- Frequent A& E attendances (eg for injuries). These are often associated with accidents through lack of supervision.
- Poor uptake of immunisations.
- Untreated medical conditions and not giving essential treatment regularly or consistently for serious illness and/or minor health problems.
- Poor dental hygiene and care.
- Inadequate / poor nutrition.
- Physical care and presentation of the child outside acceptable norms for the population (eg inappropriate clothing for the winter).
- Child's attendance at school is poor or the child is consistently late. Parent takes no interest in child's school-work.
- Parent carer does not have the ability or motivation to recognise and ensure the needs of the child are met.
- House is in a dirty, unkempt state with poor safety provision. Children's bedrooms may be worse than the communal areas.
- Parental behaviour is overtly risky and of concern ie substance misuse, domestic abuse, denial of access to child, frequent home moves, homelessness etc.
- Neglect references (PDF, 23KB)
- Neglect: Research evidence to inform practice (PDF, 495KB)
- SCIE review of Family Z (PDF, 364KB)
- Haringey LSCB Neglect multi-agency guidance coming shortly
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