Neglect is characterised by the absence of a relationship of care between the parent or carer and the child. It can occur at any stage of childhood, including in teenage years. Neglect may occur during pregnancy such as a result of parental substance misuse.

Neglect is noted as a risk factor in 60% of all serious case reviews and is the most common reason for taking child protection action.

Neglect is defined as

The failure to meet a child’s physical and or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.

Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to –

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter, including exclusion from home or abandonment
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
  • make sure adequate supervision
  • make sure access to appropriate medical care or treatment

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Neglect tools

The Neglect Observation Toolkit and Guidance

has been designed for use by any member of the workforce across Hull. For those who may have contact with -

  • children
  • parents or carers

help identify and record signs and symptoms of neglect.

Neglect Assessment Framework

The development of this framework is to assist professionals -

  • to identify and assess neglect
  • to inform planning

where there are concerns that the quality of the care of a child or young person suggests that their needs are being neglected.

It can -

  • help inform an early help assessment
  • help inform a children’s social care single assessment
  • be used as a tool for supervision and reflective discussion

Neglect strategy

The Neglect Strategy

describes -

  • what neglect is
  • the impact of neglect
  • the action being taken locally to improve outcomes for children

Children living with neglect – learning from practice

In addition to the local serious case review, there was a programme of single and multi-agency auditing of practice of cases which featured neglect as a presenting issue. From this programme we identified both strengths and areas for development. We have produced a one page summary of what we learnt. In 2019 we revisited ‘Neglect’ as a theme to check whether there was any evidence that the development work undertaken was improving practice and outcomes. We produced a second one page summary of what we learnt.

Impact of neglect

The Growing up neglected report

is about the third joint targeted area inspection programme. It began in May 2017 and examined ‘the multi-agency response to older children who are living with neglect’.

The report considers the most significant learning from six inspections of local authority areas with a focus on the neglect of older children. The inspections reviewed practice in -

  • children’s social care
  • education
  • health services
  • the police
  • youth offending services
  • probation services

The report recognises that much has been done by agencies to address neglect of younger children but it calls for a greater awareness of the neglect of older children and a focus on trauma-based approaches. It also calls for a greater awareness among professionals in adult services of the risks of neglect of older children who are living with parents with complex needs.