Neglect of a child is described as the failure of a parent or caregiver to provide food, shelter, clothing, or medical care or the failure of a parent or caregiver to care for a child to a degree that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are subject to harm and injury. Neglect is the most common type of maltreatment. On this page, discover resources and research on the characteristics of parents or caregivers who neglect their children.
Associations Between Family Risk Factors and Child Neglect Types in U.S. Army Communities (PDF - 177 KB)
Cozza, Ogle, Fisher, Zhou, Whaley, Fullerton, & Ursano (2019)
Child Maltreatment, 24(1)
Examines cases of neglect in U.S. Army communities and family factors associated with elevated risk of several types of neglect. Findings showed that mental health problems and larger family size were associated with risk of supervisory neglect, while family disagreements were associated with an increased risk for emotional neglect.
American Society for the Positive Care of Children
Explains different types of neglect, including physical neglect, general neglect, severe neglect, psycho-social failure to thrive, and prenatal neglect, and describes how they are caused by caregivers or parents.
Defines several types of neglect, including physical, medical, educational, and psychological or emotional. The article also explores incidences of neglect, signs of neglect, outcomes of neglect, and why parents neglect their children.
Child Neglect and the Broader Context of Child Victimization
Turner, Vanderminden, Finkelhor, & Hamby (2019)
Child Maltreatment, 24(3)
Examines the connection between socioeconomic factors and two different types of child neglect and how neglect is associated with risk factors for other types of victimization. Findings from the study showed that physical neglect is associated with economic stressors on parents, while low parental education level is associated with both supervisory neglect and physical neglect.
Contributing Factors to Child Abuse and Neglect
Describes contributing factors that could make a parent or caregiver more likely to neglect and abuse children, including a history of being abused, stress, substance use, mental health issues, and other factors.
How Can Understanding Risk and Protective Factors Predict Chronic Neglect for CPS-Involved Families?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Examines the use of risk assessment tools to predict chronic neglect and shows that parent cognitive impairment, history of substitute care, and mental health problems, as well as a higher number of allegations in a report, are the strongest predictors. Having younger parents, being in a family with higher numbers of children, and being in a family with a child under age 1 were also predictors of neglect.
Social Work Online Course: Characteristics of Abusive Caretakers
Offers information about neglectful and abusive caretakers, including a list of caregiver and parent factors that are likely to be present, such as a history of neglect or abuse, lack of social support, low self-esteem, substance use, mental health problems, and more.
Understanding the Six Types of Neglect
Kaplan Early Learning Company
Outlines six types of neglect: physical, medical, supervisory, environmental, educational, and emotional. The article describes the role of parents and caretakers in these different forms of neglect and explains why they may occur.
Working With Parents Where Neglect Is an Issue
New South Whales (Australia) Government, Department of Communities and Justice, Practice Live (2017)
Describes how child welfare professionals can work with parents who neglect their children. The article reviews what parents think of neglect, how neglectful parents perceive themselves, how parents seek help, practice implications, and more.