Working Together 2018 defines neglect as “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:

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs, such as providing emotional warmth, nurture or developing health attachments.

What is Neglect?

Neglect cannot be defined as a one-off incident such as seeing an untidy kitchen while on a visit. It typically arises where there is an ongoing failure of a parent or carer to provide for the basic physical and psychological care needs of a child.  The impact of neglect may become prevalent over a sustained period of time with evidence to support concerns usually gathered from a number of agencies/professionals. It is therefore important for professionals to keep a focus on the child’s journey from needing to receive effective protection from neglect (and abuse).

In trying to define neglect therefore we need to understand the followings:

  • Neglect is something that is persistent and cumulative and occurs over time with little change, despite intervention.
  • That while neglect might occur within a family perceived to be living in poverty, the children at the greatest risk are those who live in families in which the parents’ own emotional impoverishment is so great that they actually do not know how to parent, do not understand their children’s needs and despite intensive intervention cannot provide for their needs.
  • When considering the risk of neglect in relation to an unborn child, the neglect of a parents own health or poor self-care not only can define the significant of risk and concern for a child’s development in the womb, but it can also provide a barometer for the likelihood of harm once the child is born.Although professionals may be worried about a child, it’s not always easy to identify neglect. There’s often no single sign that a child or family need help. Neglect is the most common reason for professionals taking child protection action.Practitioners should be aware that neglect CAN be life threatening and needs to be treated with as much urgency as other categories of maltreatment and is not confined to the youngest children occurring across all ages.

A simple and helpful way to view neglect is to consider the needs of children and whether or not their parents or carers are consistently meeting such needs. If not, then neglect may very well be an issue.

If you have concerns that a child is being neglected please call the

Bedford Borough Integrated Front Door (IFD) 01234 718700 or multiagency@bedford.gov.uk

Central Bedfordshire Access and Referral Hub 0300 300 8585 or AccessReferral@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Luton Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) 01582 547653 or mash@luton.gov.uk

 Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) is tool used across Bedfordshire to assess, measure and support families where there are concerns regarding Neglect.

The original GCP was a tool designed in 1995 to provide an objective measure of the care of the children. The GCP model is primarily based on the qualitative measure of the commitment shown by parents or carers in meeting their children’s developmental needs.

It is tool that we will be using to assess, measure and support families where there are concerns regarding Neglect.

It is an assessment tool that will highlight the areas of strength and the areas that will require further, more specific targeted support.

Any professional who has had the training maybe involved in carrying out the GCP with a family and all professionals are welcome to contribute towards the completion of the GCP2.

Safeguarding Bedfordshire offer free GCP2 training to Central Bedfordshire and Luton based practitioners. (Bedford Borough practitioners click here for access to GCP2 training.)

Additional information and resources about the Graded Care Profile 2 can be found by following the links below:

Guidance for Professionals

Information Leaflet for young people

Information leaflet for Parents

GCP2 Information leaflet

Pan Beds Video on the Graded Care Profile

Neglect Campaign and Resources

The Neglect Matters campaign launched in 2018 aimed to raise awareness of neglect with free awareness sessions for professionals in Luton, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford. For more information please click on the links below:

Neglect Campaign Posters – Bedfordshire Neglect Matters Campaign

Neglect Matters Young People’s Booklet – Bedfordshire Neglect Matters Campaign

The NSPCC identifies the following forms of neglect

Physical neglect
Failing to provide for a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter. Failing to adequately supervise a child or provide for their safety.

Educational neglect
Failing to ensure a child receives an education.

Emotional neglect
Failing to meet a child’s needs for nurture and stimulation, perhaps by ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating them. It’s often the most difficult to prove.

Medical neglect
Failing to provide appropriate health care, including dental care and refusal of care or ignoring medical recommendations.

Practitioners should be aware that neglect CAN be life threatening and needs to be treated with as much urgency as other categories of maltreatment and is not confined to the youngest children occurring across all ages.

A simple and helpful way to view neglect is to consider the needs of children and whether or not their parents or carers are consistently meeting such needs. If not, then neglect may very well be an issue.

If you have concerns that a child is being neglected please call the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01582 547653 or email mash@luton.gov.uk

Poverty

When considering neglect, poverty can be an important factor
Child poverty is defined by the experience of material deprivation and lack of financial resources. Growing up in poverty can seriously impact on a child’s emotional wellbeing, physical health and education attainment with long lasting affects into adulthood.

In 2015, 3.9 million children were recorded across the UK to be living in poverty with this being an increase of 200,00 over the 12 month period.
Children and adults from poor household are 3 times more likley to have mental health conditions.

Research undertaken by the Children’s Society found that 10% of families have taken out credit to pay for food, 18% for clothing and 6% for heating.
Children born into poorer families are more likely to be born premature, have low birth weight and die in the first year of life.

Useful Resources

Action for Children

Neglect affects up to 1 in 10 children, and that’s too many. Neglect’s damaging to children’s physical, mental and emotional development. Too many children across the UK are suffering…

Visit the website

Thinking About Adolescent Neglect

A review of research on adolescent neglect focusing on identification, assessment and intervention…

Visit the document

NSPCC

Find out more on what neglect is. How to prevent it, identify the signs and symptoms, and report your concern.

Visit the website here 

To access the Childline website and read about neglect click here

To access neglect data from the Office of National Statistic please check here

Adolescent Neglect Briefing

This briefing is aimed at improving knowledge, understanding and confidence around identifying and responding to adolescent neglect…

Visit the document

Children Society

Is neglect of adolescents an important issue? When social workers make an assessment for a Child Protection Plan they can select from four categories – emotional abuse, physical abuse, neglect or sexual abuse…

Visit the website

Pan Bedfordshire Neglect Strategy please click here