child neglect

Child neglect is the most common form of child abuse. Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, which results in jeopardizing a child’s physical and psychological well-being. Child neglect is not always deliberate. At times, a caregiver may become physically or mentally unable to care for a child and other times, alcohol or drug abuse may dangerously impair their judgment and their ability to keep a child safe. Regardless of the cause, the end result is a child who is not getting their physical and emotional needs met.

Signs of child neglect may include:

  • Physical signs: A child is often dressed inappropriately for the weather, or they may be wearing ill-fitting, dirty clothes and shoes. They may look as if they have bad hygiene, such as dirty, matted and unwashed hair, rotting teeth, or very bad body odor. Another warning sign of neglect is a child who has untreated physical injuries, or is frequently sick without being treated.
  • Behavioral signs: A child may appear to be unsupervised most of the time. School age children may regularly be tardy or absent. The child may demonstrate troublesome and disruptive behavior or be withdrawn and submissive.
  • Caregiver signs: Neglectful caregivers may have problems with drugs or alcohol. A little clutter in the home is normal, but a home that is filthy and unsanitary may be a sign of neglecting the children who stay there. Oftentimes there is not adequate food in the house. A neglectful caregiver may also be irresponsible for a child’s safety, letting children play unsupervised or leaving a baby unattended, and might refuse or delay necessary health care for the child.