child abuse and neglect
There are few sadder things on earth than child neglect.
How could a parent or any concerned person not attend to a child’s needs? It boggles the mind. Child neglect is a form of child abuse. It may be physical and/or mental. There is no typical child neglect victim.
Child neglect can happen to children from traditional two-parent homes or children who are being raised by single parents. Child neglect cuts across racial, religious, and socioeconomic divisions.
Let’s delve into this topic to find out more about it. Also, it is important to be fully informed regarding this terribly sad occurrence, and to become empowered if we ever suspect a child is experiencing it.
What exactly is meant by “child neglect”
One puzzling aspect of child neglect is that each state in the United States has its own child neglect definitions and laws which covers child abuse as well.
What may be considered child neglect in Utah, may not be considered child neglect in Nevada. Generally, though, most states would certainly concur that the most awful sorts of child neglect must be handled with the same degree of severity.
Few examples of child neglect
What is child neglect? Child neglect may take many forms and present themselves in countless ways. And, as can be extrapolated from the definition above, the age at which a child experiences neglect can determine the outcome in terms of the child’s well-being.
For example –
if a six-year-old does not receive dinner until very late one evening, no permanent harm will come from it. On the other hand, if a six-day-old is not fed for many hours due to neglect, serious problems may result.
If parents spend a great deal of time arguing with each other to the extent that the child is ignored, that too is neglect. If a child is in any way harmed due to a parent or caregiver’s lack of attention, that too is child neglect.
Types of child neglect
Are there different types of child neglect?
Yes, there are many different types of child neglect. What follows are the five most common types-
1. Physical neglect
There is physical neglect where a child may be dirty, have ratty hair, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, or seasonally inappropriate clothing.
Often times, it is a child’s teacher who first notices this.
2. Medical and dental neglect
There is also medical and dental neglect.
A child may not receive vaccinations on time or at all, or may not be diagnosed for vision or auditory problems or any other physical ailments. Your child may experience the denial or delay of medical treatments as well. So, equally important for children are regular dentist appointments.
3. Inadequate supervision
The third kind of child neglect is inadequate supervision.
Leaving a child alone for long periods of time, not protecting a child from hazardous conditions or leaving a child with an unqualified (too young, too inattentive, incompetent, etc.) caregiver, is another type of child neglect.
4. Emotional neglect
What is considered child neglect, according to you?
If a parent or caregiver does not provide emotional support or attention, the child may suffer a lifetime of problems. Children in foster care are especially vulnerable to emotional neglect.
5. Educational neglect
Lastly, there is educational neglect.
Failure to enroll a child in school, and failure to allow a child to be tested for certain programs in an educational environment such as a gifted program or to receive additional support for learning disabilities are types of educational neglect.
Allowing a child to miss many days of school, and frequent changes in schools are a few examples of educational neglect. This sort of child neglect, like all other types of child neglect, may result in a lifetime of less than optimal circumstances.
Without a sound educational foundation, children will face difficulties in many areas down the road, right from gaining admission to colleges to being competitive in any job market.
What are the signs of child neglect?
Signs of child neglect vary according to the age of the child.
Let’s cite a child neglect case example here to understand the common signs that show the little one is a victim of child abuse and neglect.
For a school going child, administrators and teachers may suspect child neglect if the child is remarkably smaller, ill-kempt, exhibits poor hygiene or has a spotty attendance record. If a child appears in the classroom wearing a sleeveless shirt and no sweater nor jacket in January, this could be a sign of child neglect.
What are some of the effects of child neglect?
The effects of neglect on a child are many, though some may be temporary, unfortunately, many may last a lifetime.
Children may become violent or withdrawn.
Due to neglect, a child’s academic performance may suffer, and this can lead to poor education, falling into the “wrong” crowd early on, drug and alcohol use at a young age, and other poor life choices.
Vocational options may be fewer, and the opportunities to achieve a university education may be limited or non-existent. Physical health too may suffer since some or all of the benchmarks for optimal health (well-baby checks, regular childhood checkups, vaccinations, regular dental checkups) may not have taken place.
To sum up, one can say that the negative effects of child neglect may last a lifetime.
What should you do if you suspect child neglect?
Anyone can report suspected child neglect. But, one must know how to report child neglect?
All states have toll-free numbers to call; in some states, it is mandatory to report child neglect, but anybody who suspects child neglect should report it, since reporting a case of child neglect may save a child’s life.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline has people working 24/7 who have emergency numbers, professional crisis counselors, ready to help, access to local and national social service agencies as well as many other resources.
They can be contacted at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453). Some people may be hesitant to call, but all calls are anonymous, so there is no reason to be afraid of making a call.
It may be the most important phone call you will ever make.