Signs, symptoms and effects

Find out more about the signs, symptoms and effects of neglect:

What is neglect?

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. Working Together 2023

Assessing and intervening where neglect may be an issue

The Neglect Screening Tool, Graded Care Profile and the Home Conditions Assessment have been adopted by the LSCB in Cheshire West and Chester where neglect is an area of concern for a child’s welfare. The tools can be used across the Children’s Continuum of Need by practitioners working within the family.

Home Conditions

The Home Conditions assessment tool is a short assessment of the physical aspects of the home conditions and the impact on the children who live there.  These impacts will be greater depending on the age and development of the child.  For example, a badly soiled floor will have a different impact on a child who is crawling, when compared to an older child.  Particular home conditions may prompt actions (e.g. clearing of rubbish in the home by the parents) which can inform plans.

  • Home Conditions (Word, 688KB) – this assessment will assist practitioners to identify areas of concern that require attention within the home. To be effective each area on concern should have a corresponding action and should be regularly reviewed to establish whether the home conditions have improved or deteriorated.
  • Home Conditions Review Form (Word, 14KB) – the review form is a helpful document to assist practitioners in tracking progress or lack of it against actions.

Neglect Screening Tool

The tool is intended for use by any individual working with children and families as a means to quickly identify areas of concern which may indicate a child/young person is being neglected. It is intended to complement existing assessment tools e.g. Team around the Family (TAF), Child Exploitation Tool (CE), Children and Families Assessment etc. and should be used accordingly. The tool is designed to be applicable to all ages of children and should help you “consider” Neglect and associated factors. In circumstances were those “considerations” about Neglect are reinforced by using this screening tool and you “suspect” Neglect is occurring, more detailed assessments using tools such as Team around Family, Graded Care Profile and Home Conditions Tool will be required if not already completed. CWAC Neglect Screening Tool  

Graded Care

The Graded Care Profile is a more detailed tool that grades a range of statements that may indicate neglect against a standardised framework.  This enables the component parts of the quality of care to be separately assessed against predetermined criteria. It facilitates common language across agencies and helps in relation to clearer thresholds and reducing subjectivity. Please read the guidance notes for the Graded Care Profile prior to completing the document:

It is a universal model that can be used by agencies during assessment, intervention or pre-referral to other agencies including Children and Young People’s services.  It includes strengths and weaknesses and facilitates targeted interventions. It can focus on specific facets of neglect that concern agencies.  This allows workers to identify strengths as well as those areas of deficiency that require intervention.  The indicators include physical care e.g. nutrition, safety e.g. traffic and suitability of carers; responsiveness to the child e.g. sensitivity and communication; and esteem e.g. stimulations and acceptance. These tools can be also used as evidence for Child Protection Conferences, Public Law Outline or Court Proceedings.

Cheshire West Neglect Strategy

Learning from case reviews