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Child Neglect

Child Neglect

Child Neglect

Child neglect is a form of child maltreatment, a deficit in meeting a child’s basic needs including the failure to provide basic physical, health care, supervision, nutrition, emotional, education and/or safe housing needs.

There are various types of child neglect:

Physical neglect refers to the failure to provide a child with basic necessities of life such as food and clothing. Medical neglect is when caregivers do not meet children’s basic health care needs.

Emotional neglect is failing to provide emotional support such as emotional security and encouragement. Educational/ developmental neglect is the failure to provide a child with experiences for necessary growth and development, such as not sending a child to school or giving him or her an education. In some instances, leaving a young child unsupervised may be considered neglect, especially if doing so places the child in danger.

Child neglect can also be described by degrees of severity and the responses considered warranted by communities and government agencies. Mild neglect is the least likely to be perceived as neglect by the child, but raises the possibility of harm in ways that need intervention by the community. An example might be a parent who does not use a proper car safety seat.

Moderate neglect occurs when some harm to the child has occurred. An example might be a child repeatedly dressed inappropriately for the weather (e.g. shorts in winter.) In cases of moderate harm, governmental agencies might be called in to assist parents. evere neglect occurs over time and results in significant harm to the child. An example might be a child with asthma being denied treatment.

Effects of neglect on children’s development Chronic and severe forms of neglect pose a serious threat to a child’s survival. Apart from being potentially fatal, neglect causes great distress to children and is believed to lead to poor outcomes in the short- and long-term.


Possible consequences include difficulties in forming attachment and relationships.

  • Lower educational achievements.
  • An increased risk of substance misuse.
  • Higher risk of experiencing abuse as well as difficulties in assuming parenting responsibilities later on in life.
  • Emotional neglect can have adverse effects on the development of a child’s brain – children can grow up to be socially withdrawn,
  • inattentive and cognitively underachieving in their elementary-school years.



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