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).
- Poor growth pattern (small in stature, failure to thrive).
- Consistent hunger.
- Chronically dirty.
- Poor hygiene.
- Inappropriate dress for the weather.
- Consistent lack of supervision.
- Wasting of subcutaneous tissue.
- Unattended physical problems or medical needs.
- Abdominal distension.
- Bald patches on the scalp.
- Developmental lags (toilet training, motor skills, language, socialization).
- Frequent absenteeism at school.
- Reports of being left alone, unsupervised or abandoned.
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