Every child has the right to expect that their parent or primary responsible
caregiver will reasonably and prudently provide clothing, food, medical
care, protection, shelter, and supervision. When a parent or primary responsible
caregiver fails to provide the essential things to a child, a child may
be neglected. Child neglect is more common and sometimes more devastating
than child abuse. Oftentimes child neglect and abuse are referred to in
the same type of context.
Neglect may be physical, emotional, medical or educational. First, physical
neglect includes the failure to provide food, shelter and clothing to
the child. Second, emotional neglect includes the lack of physical and
emotional contact between the parent or caregiver and the child. Third,
medical neglect refers to the parent or caregiver's failure to provide
reasonable and proper medical care for the child. Last, educational neglect
refers to the inattention to a child's emotional needs and requirement
to attend school, and failure to provide psychological care. The above
examples do not always lead to the conclusion that a child is neglected,
however there are indicators that neglect may be an issue.
Parental or Primary Responsible Caregiver's Duties
A parent or primary responsible caregiver fulfills their duty by doing
certain things that promote growth, safety, and health. Because they cannot
always promote growth, health, and safety to an optimal level, they must
not be held to a standard of perfect care. However, when care falls below
a reasonable or prudent
Consequences of Child Neglect
Child neglect may relate to health consequences, mental or cognitive consequences
or behavioral issues. Child neglect can place children at higher risk
for a variety of diseases and conditions, especially if the child is not
properly or adequately fed or cared for.
Investigation of Reported Neglect
If neglect has been reported to a social service agency or local agency,
or is suspected by a professional, an investigation will likely occur.
Every state has different requirements that govern the parameters of the
investigation. If the neglect is of a severe nature, the child may be
removed from the home and placed in foster care or with a relative. Some
parents or caregivers may be required to show that their circumstances
have changed or that they are able and willing to provide proper care
for their child. The social service agency
If neglect by the parent or caregiver is so severe or if the neglect resulted
in the death of a child, the parent or caregiver may be charged with criminal
neglect. States vary on the name of the offense and the elements required
in charging one for criminal negligence.