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What is Child Neglect?

Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, to the extent that the child’s well-being is damaged. A child can be neglected in three (3) basic areas – physical, education, and emotional.


Physical Neglect

Can be seen in the following ways:

  • Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, or hygiene.
  • Reckless disregard for the child’s safety
  • Refusal to provide necessary health care for the child.
  • Abandoning children without providing for their care or expelling children from the home without arranging for their care.


Educational Neglect

Can be seen in any of the following ways:

  • Failure to enroll a child in school.
  • Permitting or causing a child to miss too many days of school
  • Refusal to follow up on obtaining services for a child’s special education needs.


Emotional Neglect

Refers to inadequate nurturing or affection

  • Permitting a child to drink alcohol or use recreational drugs
  • Exposure of the child to spousal abuse
  • Failure to intervene when the child demonstrates antisocial behavior.
  • Refusal of or delay in providing necessary psychological care.


Signs of Neglect

When a child is neglected in any of the ways listed above, one will observe one or all of the following:

  • Poor hygiene (lice, scabies, bed sores, body odor)
  • Squinting
  • Unsuitable clothing or missing key articles of clothing
  • Untreated injury or illness
  • Lack of immunizations
  • Height and weight significantly below average for age level

If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of Neglect, talk to someone you trust about it or call us at ChildLine at 131 or 800-4321.

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