To view the Pan Bedfordshire Neglect Strategy please click here

Multi-agency safeguarding children and young people information to assist good practice

“Neglect is 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 caregivers); or
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.”  ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018)

Types of Neglect

In a review of the various definitions of neglect in 2007, Professor Jan Howarth identified the following types of neglect: 

  • Medical neglect – this involves carers minimising or denying children’s illness or health needs, and failing to seek appropriate medical attention or administer medication and treatments.
  • Nutritional neglect – this typically involves a child being provided with inadequate calories for normal growth. This form of neglect is sometimes associated with ‘failure to thrive’, in which a child fails to develop physically as well as psychologically. However, failure to thrive can occur for other reasons, independent of neglect. More recently, childhood obesity resulting from an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise has been considered as a form of neglect, given its serious long term consequences.
  • Emotional neglect – this involves a carer being unresponsive to a child’s basic emotional needs, including failing to interact or provide affection, and failing to develop a child’s self-esteem and sense of identity. Some authors distinguish it from emotional abuse by the intention of the parent.
  • Educational neglect – this involves a carer failing to provide a stimulating environment, show an interest in the child’s education at school, support their learning, or respond to any special needs, as well as failing to comply with state requirements regarding school attendance.
  • Physical neglect – this involves not providing appropriate clothing, food, cleanliness and living conditions. It can be difficult to assess due to the need to distinguish neglect from deprivation, and because of individual judgements about what constitutes standards of appropriate physical care.
  • Lack of supervision and guidance – this involves a failure to provide an adequate level of guidance and supervision to ensure a child is physically safe and protected from harm. It may involve leaving a child to cope alone, abandoning them or leaving them with inappropriate carers, or failing to provide appropriate boundaries about behaviours such as underage sex or alcohol use. It can affect children of 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.

Useful Resources

Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2)

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.

GCP2 training courses are available through the Pan Bedfordshire LSCB Training Unit - please click here to book

Additional information and resources about the GCP2 can be found by following the links below:



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