Child Neglect 6

How To Spot The Warning Signs

One of the most prevalent types of child abuse, neglect results in more deaths than the other types of abuse combined.

“Neglect” is defined as the physical, mental or emotional impairment or the danger of impairment of a child less than 18 years of age as the result of the failure of the child’s legal guardian(s) to provide a minimum degree of care by providing the child with proper supervision as well as basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care and education.

Signs of neglect include:

  • Dirty skin and/or clothes
  • Ratted hair
  • Clothes that are too big, too small or overly worn
  • Lack of proper clothing such as a coat in the winter
  • Malnutrition
  • Starvation or always hungry
  • Health problems not address by the parents
  • A lack of parental interest in the child’s well-being
  • Injuries that are unattended
  • Lack of dental and/or medical care
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Lack of proper school supplies and/or lunches
  • Sleep deprivation

Most children who are neglected will also demonstrate a variety of behavioral problems including aggressive or destructive behavior, moodiness or depression, unfounded fear, cruelty and a lack of interest in schoolwork.

When infants are involved, the neglect can sometimes be more difficult to spot however, most neglected infants don’t have the normal responsiveness to adults that nurtured babies would have. Toddlers will often lack the normal learning progression appropriate for that age and as with older children, indicators such as a lack of care, clothing and supervision may still be fairly evident.

Parents or guardians of the child may also offer additional warning signs such as a general disinterest in the child’s well-being as well as abuse of alcohol or drugs. Neglectful parents rarely attend parent-teacher conferences and consistently miss appointments and fail to respond to inquiries and/or recommendations.

If you suspect that a child is being neglected, contact your local police department immediately. They can put you in touch with special counselors and organizations that can investigate the suspected neglect and provide resources and refuge for the neglected child.


  • “K”

    If a parent moves away from the child and does not contribute to the child’s well being – food shelter, clothing, healthcare – can this be considered as “Neglect”

    • Janes2000

      Leaving the child without supervision, food, shelter, and all of the necessities is considered abondonment.

  • as

    i have a question if the mother takes the child away from you and dont give you an adress to contact and every time you get in contact she changes the adress and denies child support is that considered abandonment

  • Adina DuCre

    If I am the custodial parent and on visitations to her father I make him supply his own clothes, lotion, hygeine care needs as well as supply his own asthma inhaler for her, Am I considered neglectful to my daughter while in his care?

  • concerned father

    If I have information that proves the mother of my daughter and other people involved are guilty of neglect that resulted in the death of my STEP son, what would happen to the mother and the people involved if the above allogations are proven in court, and further more would I be able to get full custody of my daughter and unborn child thats comming soon. The incident that occured that resulted in my step sons death, i was not there for, I was at work, however I know for fact what really happened and I can prove it. Would the people involved go to jail, would I then be awarded custody? The cituation is very dangerous not just for me but for my children. God help me, and anyone that reads this, please…Im desperate

  • Melanie

    Is it consodered child neglect if a biological mother tells her son 8and year old son she wants the childs step mother killed especially when mother is noncustodial parent and. Has herself and her family harrassing and threatening custodial parent and step mother