Neglect is a failure to provide adequate care. Judgements have to be made as to what represents adequate and reasonable 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.


NEW - Neglect Screening Tool launched June 2018. This tool can be used by any practitioner to ascertain their level of concern and decide whether an enquiry should be made to the Children's Front Door either for Early Help advice from the Local Area Teams or advice from Children's Social Care.


In Pregnancy, Childhood and Adolescence

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.


Consequences of Neglect

Child and adolescent neglect and its consequences on the future well being and development of children has increased during the last two decades and 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. 

The CYSCP Multi-agency Child Neglect Strategy and the One Minute Guide (OMG) to Child and Adolescent Neglect have been produced to help practitioners.  Further information can be found on the Child Protection Procedures page.

In York Social Workers, Healthy Child Service Practitioners and Local Area Team Practitioners are trained to use the Graded Care profile to assess cases of neglect.

CYSCP has developed a Neglect Storyboard and a 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.


NEWNeglect Screening Tool This tool can be used by any practitioner to ascertain their level of concern.  It may lead to an enquiry - via the Children's Front Door - to the Local Area Teams for support with an Early Help Assessment or to Children's Social Care if the child is at risk of significant harm. (Practitioners in both of these services are trained to carry out specialist Graded Care Profile assessments of neglect.)


Adverse Childhood Experiences.
Animation produced for
Public Health Wales 
and Blackburn with Darwen Local Authority

Rethinking Did Not Attend animation
from Safeguarding Nottingham




CYSCP provides online and face to face training for practitioners.


Useful Links

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resilience report from Public Health Wales and Bangor University

Child Abuse and Neglect NICE guidelines

Neglect and Harmful Sexual Behaviours from Research in Practice, NSPCC, and Action for Children

Relationship Between Child Abuse and Neglect from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Towards a Model of Child Protection from Families, Relationships and Societies

DfE - Missed Opportunities: Indicators of Neglect

Action for Children: Neglect Resource Pack

Adolescent Neglect Review from the Children's Society

Research in Practice - Adolescent Neglect

Growing up Neglected: A multi-agency response to older children