Types of Child Neglect

Neglect is not easy to define, and different States have different legal definitions. However, child welfare experts have created common categories of neglect, including

  • Physical neglect: This includes
    • Abandonment–the desertion of a child without arranging for his reasonable care or supervision (usually, a child is considered abandoned when not picked up within 2 days).
    • Expulsion–the blatant refusal of custody, such as the permanent or indefinite expulsion of a child from the home, without adequately arranging for his care by others or the refusal to accept custody of a returned runaway.
    • Shuttling–when a child is repeatedly left in the custody of others for days or weeks at a time, possibly due to the unwillingness of the parent or the caregiver to maintain custody.
    • Nutritional neglect–when a child is undernourished or is repeatedly hungry for long periods of time, which can sometimes be evidenced by poor growth. Nutritional neglect often is included in the category of "other physical neglect."
    • Clothing neglect–when a child lacks appropriate clothing, such as not having appropriately warm clothes or shoes in the winter.
    • Other physical neglect–includes inadequate hygiene and forms of reckless disregard for the child's safety and welfare (e.g., driving while intoxicated with the child, leaving a young child in a car unattended).
  • Medical neglect: Delay or denial of the provision of healthcare.
  • Inadequate supervision: This can happen in many ways
    • Lack of appropriate supervision. Some States specify the amount of time children at different ages can be left unsupervised, and the guidelines for these ages and times vary. In addition, all children are different, so the amount of supervision needed may vary by the child's age, development, or situation. It is important to evaluate the maturity of the child, the accessibility of other adults, the duration and frequency of unsupervised time, and the neighborhood or environment when determining if it is acceptable to leave a child unsupervised.
    • Exposure to hazards. Examples of exposure to in- and out-of-home hazards include: safety hazards, smoking, guns and weapons, unsanitary household conditions, lack of car safety restraints
    • Inappropriate caregivers. Another behavior that can fall under "failure to protect" is leaving a child in the care of someone who either is unable or should not be trusted to provide care for a child. Examples of inappropriate caregivers include a young child, a known child abuser, or someone with a substance abuse problem.
  • Environmental neglect: A broad view of neglect incorporates environmental conditions linking neighborhood factors with family and individual functioning, especially since the harmful impact of dangerous neighborhoods on children's development, mental health, and child maltreatment has been demonstrated.
  • Emotional neglect: Typically, emotional neglect is more difficult to assess than other types of neglect, but is thought to have more severe and long-lasting consequences than physical neglect. It often occurs with other forms of neglect or abuse, which may be easier to identify, and includes:
    • Inadequate nurturing or affection–the persistent, marked inattention to the child's needs for affection, emotional support, or attention.
    • Chronic or extreme spouse abuse–the exposure to chronic or extreme spouse abuse or other domestic violence.
    • Permitted drug or alcohol abuse–the encouragement or permission by the caregiver of drug or alcohol use by the child.
    • Other permitted maladaptive behavior–the encouragement or permission of other maladaptive behavior (e.g., chronic delinquency, assault) under circumstances where the parent or caregiver has reason to be aware of the existence and the seriousness of the problem, but does not intervene.
    • Isolation–denying a child the ability to interact or to communicate with peers or adults outside or inside the home.
  • Educational neglect: Types of educational neglect include:
    • Permitted, chronic truancy–permitting habitual absenteeism from school averaging at least 5 days a month if the parent or guardian is informed of the problem and does not attempt to intervene.
    • Failure to enroll or other truancy–failing to homeschool, to register, or to enroll a child of mandatory school age, causing the child to miss at least 1 month of school without valid reasons.
    • Inattention to special education needs–refusing to allow or failing to obtain recommended remedial education services or neglecting to obtain or follow through with treatment for a child's diagnosed learning disorder or other special education need without reasonable cause.
  • Newborns addicted or exposed to drugs

As you can see, neglect can take many forms; and of course it can be mild, moderate or severe. But as Muslims, we want to fulfil our responsibilities to our children and make sure we are not neglecting our children in any way. We also recognize how difficult parenting can be for some, and want to find ways to support parents in looking after their children.



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