Child Abuse: Signs of Neglect

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Specific signs of neglect include:

  • Hunger, inadequate growth, or low weight from poor nutrition.
  • Lack of attention to personal cleanliness. The child may be very dirty, smelly, or unkempt.
  • Inappropriate or lack of clothing for the season.
  • Delay or failure to get needed health care.
  • Not following health care recommendations.
  • Pattern of tardiness or missing school.

Signs of a poor home environment that may indicate neglect include:

  • Lack of shelter, heat, water, bedding, or clothing.
  • Insufficient sleeping arrangements.
  • Unsanitary conditions and housekeeping problems.
  • Structural and fire hazards.

Behavior patterns that may indicate neglect include:

  • Substance abuse . A child who is poorly supervised by parents may have access to drugs or alcohol and develop related behavioral problems.
  • Poor social skills. Neglected children may not have appropriate role models to learn responsible behavior. They may also lack opportunities to interact with peers.
  • Poor school performance, tardiness, or absenteeism. Neglected children may not have enough supervision to help them prepare for and get to school regularly.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics

Current as ofJune 11, 2015

Current as of: June 11, 2015