Neglect is a failure to provide adequate care. The Government’s definition (Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018) 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:
The Neglect Screening Tool provides an objective benchmark for referral into MASH or Early Help for advice from the Local Area Team's or Children's Social Care. This will inform objective information gathered by the practitioner. Using the tool informs decision making as to whether a child is at significant risk of harm.
Child and adolescent neglect and its consequences on the future well being and development of children is the most common reason for child protection plans in the UK.
The consequences of neglect can include an array of health and well being problems including difficulties in forming attachments and relationships, lower educational achievements, an increased risk of substance misuse and a higher risk of experiencing abuse as well as difficulties in assuming parenting responsibilities later on in life.
The degree to which children are affected during their childhood and later life depends on the type, severity and frequency of the maltreatment and on what support mechanisms and coping strategies were available to the child.
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)
ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment (e.g. dental neglect can result in serious harm)
be responsive to a child's basic emotional needs
Adolescent neglect can be a deliberate act where young people may be abandoned by parents or forced to leave home. Neglect can include parents not being aware of their child’s activities outside the home; not making sure they get health care when they need it; not taking an interest in their education or failing to provide emotional support with problems or offering encouragement.
Neglect Screening Tool for practitioners. This tool is for use by any practitioner to help consider the level of risk a child or young person might be at through assessing their individual needs via known information. It is not a full assessment of risk.
The NSPCC Graded Care Profile 2 is a tool for Professionals to evaluate family strengths and weaknesses, to help in the identification of neglect. Please watch the video below with further information.
CYSCP provides online and face to face training for practitioners.
Child Abuse and Neglect NICE guidelines
Action for Children: Neglect Resource Pack
Research in Practice - Adolescent Neglect
Growing up Neglected: A multi-agency response to older children