Child Maltreatment - Neglect


What is child neglect? Child neglect is a form of mistreatment that occurs when a person does not provide needed care to a child. A child is anyone younger than 18 years old. Child neglect includes not giving a child his basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, proper education, and guidance. Child neglect may also include abandoning or not providing supervision for the child. It can also include lack of medical care, such as immunizations, treatments, or giving the wrong amount of medicine.

What increases a child's risk of neglect? Poor, violent, or crowded living conditions may be one of the reasons neglect occurs. The following are other possible causes and conditions that may increase a child's risk of neglect:

What are the signs and symptoms of child neglect?

How is child neglect diagnosed? The child's caregiver will examine the child. He will ask about other health conditions and if his vaccinations are current. He may want to talk to you, the child, or others who care for the child to get more information about the kind of neglect that has occurred. He may ask if the child has been eating, taking medicines, and given clothing. Caregivers may also want to know who is neglecting the child, and how long the neglect has been happening. The child may need to take tests or answer written questions so his caregiver can learn more about his condition. The child may also need any of the following:

How is child neglect treated? A child who has been neglected may be placed in a daycare center or foster home. Special services may be offered to ensure a child's safety and health. Treatment may also include any of the following:

What are the risks of child neglect? If the child is placed in a foster home or care, it may be hard for him to be away from his family or friends. Counseling may be emotionally difficult and painful. If child neglect is not stopped or treated, the child's hygiene, nutrition, or health may get worse. The child may have changes in his behavior and school performance, and he may develop other serious problems. These include running away from home, alcohol or drug use, depression, and problems with self-esteem, moods, and relationships.

How can I care for a child victim of neglect?

When should I contact the child's caregiver?

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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