Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children Board


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.

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 

Useful Resources

To view the Pan Bedfordshire Neglect Strategy please click here

To view the Pan Bedfordshire Interagency Child Protection Procedures please click on these links Neglect procedure

Neglect Practice Guidance

A Day in My Life: Baby 

A Day in My Life: Pre-school 

A Day in My Life: Primary 

A Day in My Life: Teenager

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

National information

To access the NSPCC website and read about neglect click 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

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