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The HSCB Neglect Strategy 2018-21

The documents below have been approved for circulation by the Haringey LSCB as part of the shared approach to tackling neglect In Haringey.

Please use them to help direct your work and when considering a referral to other services.

If you are working with, or providing services to children, you should have access to these tools and the strategy so that you understand the approach to neglect that has been agreed in Haringey. These documents should be discussed at team meetings and in supervision to ensure there is confidence in understanding when and how to use them.

What is Neglect?

Working Together to Safeguarding Children (2018) describes neglect 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.”

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 care-givers); or
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

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

Examples of Neglect - failure to:

  • Provide adequate food, clothing, or shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment).
  • Protect from physical and emotional harm or danger.
  • Meet or respond to basic emotional needs.
  • Ensure adequate supervision including the use of adequate carers.
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical treatment.
  • Ensure that his or her educational needs are met.
  • Ensure that his/her opportunities for intellectual simulation are met.
  • Prevent the exposure of the child to harmful parental behaviour such as violence or a chaotic lifestyle, often secondary to substance misuse, alcoholism or unresolved mental health issues.
  • Ensure that the child has opportunities to mix with peers.

The above may play a cumulative part in isolating the child in society, e.g. at school because of body odour or head lice or because of violent behaviour.

Indicators of Neglect

  • Frequent A& E attendances (e.g. for injuries). These are often associated with accidents through lack of supervision.
  • Poor uptake of immunisations.
  • Untreated medical conditions and not giving essential treatment regularly or consistently for serious illness and/or minor health problems.
  • Poor dental hygiene and care.
  • Inadequate / poor nutrition.
  • Physical care and presentation of the child outside acceptable norms for the population (e.g. inappropriate clothing for the winter).
  • Child's attendance at school is poor or the child is consistently late. Parent takes no interest in child's school-work.
  • Parent carer does not have the ability or motivation to recognise and ensure the needs of the child are met.
  • House is in a dirty, unkempt state with poor safety provision. Children's bedrooms may be worse than the communal areas.
  • Parental behaviour is overtly risky and of concern ie substance misuse, domestic abuse, denial of access to child, frequent home moves, homelessness etc.

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