Neglect is failure to provide for the basic age-appropriate needs of a child, resulting in serious impairment of the child’s health or development.

It may involve a parent or caretaker failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter, to protect a child from physical and emotional harm, to ensure adequate supervision and access to appropriate medical care or treatment. Neglect may be “benign”, in which a parent or caretaker chooses to ignore the child’s needs instead of taking responsibility for them.

Benign neglect may result from inadequate parenting skills, depression, or illness and in such cases is likely to affect all children in the household.  Alternatively, neglect can be intentional, as when a parent or caretaker deliberately withholds food and adequate clothing, or puts a child out of the house.  This kind of neglect does not necessarily involve all of the children in the household, but may be directed at only a specific child (or children).

Physical signs of neglect:
Behavioral signs of neglect:

Do you suspect that a child is being neglected? Click here to learn how to help the child.