Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.
Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
It is important that practitioners take steps to address concerns around neglect as soon as they are identified to ensure appropriate responses are put in place to help stop the situation getting worse for the child or young person. The Early Help Assessment can be used with parents and carers to identify what help is most needed at an early stage.
The Graded Care Profile assists practitioners in the early assessment of neglect and to work with parents to improve the lives of children living in the household:
The Thresholds Document can help practitioners identify how serious concerns about neglect might be and the most appropriate response.
In situations where the concerns about neglect do not improve or get worse, you should refer to the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Procedures to help clarify next steps, in particular:
Always discuss your concerns with the senior person in your organisation who is responsible for safeguarding and child protection.
If you are a young person, parent or carer, you can contact Children's Social Care to discuss your concerns.
If you are concerned that an unborn baby may be vulnerable to neglect the Multi-Agency Protocol for Pre-birth Assessments and Interventions provides advice on next steps. Some of these may involve using the assessment tools above.
Medical neglect involves carers minimising or ignoring children's illness or health (including oral health) needs and failing to seek medical attention or administrating medication or treatments. This also includes expectant mothers who fail to prepare appropriately for the baby's birth, fail to seek ante-natal care and/or engage in behaviours that place the baby at risk e.g drug or alcohol misuse. For more information about medical neglect see Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Board Bite-size Briefing: Medical Neglect.
The DSCB training programme includes further details of multi-agency training to safeguard children from neglect.
The DSCB Neglect Strategy sets out how partner agencies will work together:
The development and implementation of the strategy was a recommendation from a multi-agency audit looking at children and young people who were the subject of a child protection plan because of neglect. To find out more about the audit, what we learnt and how we can work together to address neglect see Neglect in Derby - what you need to know.
The Journal of the Social Services Research Group has published a special issue on child neglect featuring an overview of research, policy and practice across the UK.
The Children's Society have published a report on the links between parenting and adolescent neglect and the failure to understand and respond to the lack of care and support that many teenagers receive.
The NSPCC and Action for Children with Research in Practice have investigated the link between neglect and other forms of abuse.