Neglect is defined in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015’ as -
The persistent failure to meet a child’s physical and or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy such as a result of parental substance misuse. During childhood and through childhood into adolescence, 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
- make sure adequate supervision
- make sure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Neglect is characterised by the absence of a relationship of care between the parent or carer and the child. It can occur at any stage in childhood, including teenage years.
Nationally, neglect is noted as a risk factor in 60% of all serious case reviews and is the most common reason nationally for taking child protection action.
Board led Development Work
Based on learning from a local serious case review (Baby A (unpublished)), national SCRs and research, and on learning from local practice (multi agency auditing) the Board identified ‘reducing the harm to children from neglect’ as a strategic priority.
During 2017, multi agency groups of practitioners and managers undertook this work, designed to -
- improve awareness and recognition of the signs of neglect across the partnership
- enhance understanding of the impact of neglect on children
- support early identification and intervention
- improve practice and, as a result, outcomes for children
The primary focus of the work has been on developing tools designed to be helpful to practitioners -
Neglect Observation Tool and Guidance - This tool has been designed for use by any member of the workforce across Hull, from those who may have infrequent contact with children, or their parents or carers, to those who may have regular contact. It is designed to help identify and record signs and symptoms of neglect.
Neglect Assessment Framework - This framework has been developed to assist professionals in identifying and assessing neglect, and to inform planning where there are concerns that the quality of the care of a child or young person suggests that their needs are being neglected. It can be used to help inform an early help assessment or children’s social care single assessment and as a tool for supervision and reflective discussion.
The Board has developed new neglect training based on the learning and designed to support the strategy and wider work. This training is the ‘Neglect Awareness Course’ (dates for 2018-19 to be confirmed shortly).
The Board has produced and published a ‘Neglect Strategy’. The strategy describes what neglect is, the impact of neglect on children and young people and the action being taken locally to make an impact and improve outcomes for children.
Children Living With Neglect – Learning from Practice
In addition to the local serious case review, there was a programme of single and multi agency auditing of practice of cases which featured neglect as a presenting issue. From this programme we identified both strengths and areas for development. We have produced a one page summary of what we learnt.
Later in 2018 we will re visit neglect as a theme to check whether there is evidence that the development work undertaken is improving practice and outcomes.
This report is about the third joint targeted area inspection programme, which began in May 2017 and examined 'the multi-agency response to older children who are living with neglect'.
This report considers the most significant learning from six inspections of local authority areas with a focus on the neglect of older children. The inspections reviewed practice in children's social care, education, health services, the police, youth offending services and probation services. The report recognises that much has been done by agencies to address neglect of younger children but it calls for a greater awareness of the neglect of older children and a focus on trauma-based approaches to tackling it. It also calls for a greater awareness among professionals in adult services of the risks of neglect of older children who are living with parents with complex needs.