Child Abuse: An Overview

Child Neglect

Definition of Child Neglect:

The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect defines child neglect as: “failure to provide for the child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect includes refusal of or delay in seeking health care, abandonment, expulsion from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home, and inadequate supervision. Educational neglect includes the allowance of chronic truancy, failure to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school, and failure to attend to a special educational need. Emotional neglect includes such actions as marked inattention to the child’s needs for affection, refusal of or failure to provide needed psychological care, spouse abuse in the child’s presence, and permission of drug or alcohol use by the child. The assessment of child neglect requires consideration of cultural values and standards of care as well as recognition that the failure to provide the necessities of life may be related to poverty.” 23

Think of child neglect as occurring anytime a caretaker permits the child to experience suffering or fails to provide one of the basic ingredients essential for developing into a physically, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically healthy person.

Dental neglect, as defined by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, is “the willful failure of parent or guardian to seek and follow through with treatment necessary to ensure a level of oral health essential for adequate function and freedom from pain and infection.” Dental caries, periodontal diseases, and other oral conditions, if left untreated, can lead to pain, infection, and loss of function. These undesirable outcomes can adversely affect learning, communication, nutrition, and other activities necessary for normal growth and development. 24

Examples of child neglect:

Not meeting a child’s need for cleanliness, clothing, emotional support, love and affection, education, nutritious food, clothing, adequate shelter or safety; Leaving a child unwatched; Leaving a child in an unsafe place or causing a child to be in a dangerous situation or place; Not seeking necessary medical or dental attention for a child; Not having a child attend school; Not seeking special services for children in need of educational support. 2,6,18,24

Note: Every state has, in its child protection laws, a definition, often more specific than this general definition.20

Child Abuse: Just One Story
Child Abuse Introduction   |   Signs of Child Abuse
Child Abuse Statistics   |   It’s Under Reported
Effects of Child Abuse on Children: Abuse General
Effects of Child Abuse on Children: Child Sexual Abuse
Injuries to Children: Physical and Sexual Abuse
Effects of Child Abuse on Adults: Childhood Abuse
Effects of Child Abuse on Adults: Childhood Sexual Abuse
Definition of Physical Abuse   |   Signs of Physical Abuse
Definition of Sexual Abuse   |   Signs of Sexual Abuse
Definition of Child Neglect   |   Signs of Child Neglect
Definition of Emotional Abuse   |   Signs of Emotional Abuse
Abusers   |   Pedophiles
Child Physical Abuse and Corporal Punishment
Treatment for Child Abuse
Costs to Society
Conclusions
References
State Child Abuse Laws
Nationwide Crisis Line and Hotline Directory


Referring to this article:
“Child Abuse: An Overview” was written by C. J. Newton, MA, Learning Specialist and published in the Find Counseling.com (formerly TherapistFinder.net) Mental Health Journal in April, 2001.

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