Neglect is the constant failing to meet a child or young person’s basic needs resulting in serious effects on their health and development. Neglect can also occurring pregnancy through maternal substance abuse, for example.

Neglect is a common factor for a child to be on a child protection plan or on a child protection register. Sometimes the parent or carer will not meet a child’s basic needs because they may not have the support requires or the result of other problems such as domestic abuse, mental health issues, substance misuse or poverty.

When a child is born, the parent may fail to provide sufficient food, clothing and shelter, protect them from physical and emotional harm or danger, make sure there is appropriate supervision such has people looking after the child in the parent/carer’s absence and ensure the child receives and has access to the right medical treatment and care. Further it may involve a lack of response to a child’s emotional needs.

Recognising the signs of neglect:

  • The conditions of the home are squalid, unhygienic and/or dangerous and unsafe to live in;
  • Parents or carers that fail to meet the child’s health and development needs such as failing to get medical advice when the child is ill;
  • The child may be overweight or underweight, and they may appear hungry or wanting food;
  • Continually having a lack of energy and feeling tired;
  • Children that appear dirty and/or unkempt;
  • Frequent injuries occurring;
  • There is a delay in their development.


LSCB Resources:

Kingston & Richmond LSCBs' Neglect Strategy for 2018-2021 can be downloaded here.

The child neglect toolkit has been developed to assist all practitioners to analyse and assess situations of possible neglect.  The toolkit can be accessed here.

Please click here for the Neglect Action Plan.

Please click here for our Neglect film.

Other helpful resources:

Goldsmiths has provided some research about working with affluent families where there are concerns for neglect. Please click here

Please download a handout on 'What does child neglect look like?' - Download

Read more here:

Videos - 

Nottingham LSCB Was Not Brought

Dorset Police - a real story about neglect

Triborough LSCB Michelle's Story re neglect

Working to combat neglect - 

As LSCBs we have put together a neglect toolkit, and working from our local findings from our audit work, a huddle of tools and resources for practitioners:

Research in Practice has published guidance on the links between neglect and sexual harm here:

Neglect Mapping resource on interventions for children aged 7-15 years:

Graded Care  Profile (and other resources)

NICE Guidance:

C4EO identifies interventions in complex cases.

Resources for schools:

School Nursing:

Coventry has a useful table here of social work methods and their usefulness.