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What is child neglect?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Dependency and Neglect |

Child abuse can take on many forms. In addition to physical and emotional abuse, parents can also fail to provide for their children’s basic needs. As explained by Merck Manual, failing to provide for children is neglect.

Along with abuse, neglect can have a negative effect on a child for many years to come. There are also different types of neglect, and it is important for parents to understand each, so they can intervene when necessary.

Emotional and physical

Love and affection are essential aspects of a happy, healthy childhood. When children do not receive love and affection from their parents, emotional neglect occurs. Emotionally neglectful parents might also prevent kids from forming positive relationships with others, such as peers or other family members.

Physical neglect occurs when children lack access to the essentials. This includes nutritious food, clothing, clean drinking water, and other basics. Failing to properly supervise a child is also neglectful.


Children also require consistent schooling for a comprehensive education. It is up to parents to ensure kids make it to school each day, as well as keep up with their homework assignments. Parents must also take the proper steps to enroll their children in the school where they live.


Illness and mental health issues in kids require timely medical treatment. Parents cannot block important care or fail to take their children to appointments with doctors and other healthcare staff. Failure to do so can exacerbate symptoms and lead to poorer health outcomes.

Neglectful parents often do not have ill intentions. Instead, they are usually dealing with another issue that prevents them from providing quality care to children. This highlights the importance of timely intervention, which helps the parent as well as the child.