Neglect: guidance for professionals

Neglect is defined in WT2018 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.

What is considered neglect?

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) 
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment 

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional needs. 

Our neglect strategy

We have a neglect strategy and a toolkit (in two formats, one comprehensive and one condensed) to support multiagency practitioners in the identification, assessment, and response to neglect. You can access these, and other local resources as follows: 

Other helpful resources: