Neglect is characterised by the absence of a relationship of care between the parent/carer and the child and the failure of the parent/carer to prioritise the needs of their child. It can occur at any stage of childhood, including the teenage years.
Adolescents are often viewed as being more resilient than younger children but, as referenced by the Children Society in their report “Understanding Adolescent Neglect – Troubled Teens’, they still need dedicated care to meet their physical and emotional needs and to support their education and to keep them safe. A lack of attention to any, or all, types of care can be neglectful to adolescents and create a catalyst for poor well-being and risky behaviour that can jeopardise a young person’s health and future prospects.
Neglect is defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 as “the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical, emotional 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. When the child is born, neglect may involve the parents or carers failing to:
– Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
– Protect the 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.