Child neglect is another type of child abuse. It is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, hygiene or supervision.
Here are warning signs that a child may be neglected:
- Inappropriate dress for weather and age. Clothes are filthy or ill-fitting.
- Consistent hunger: Is the child hoarding food?
- Poor hygiene: Matted or unwashed hair, lice outbreaks, wetting themselves, rashes, staph infections, noticeable body odor.
- Consistent lack of supervision: Frequently left alone or allowed to play in unsafe environments, seen wandering outside by themselves.
- Unattended physical and medical problems: Untreated illnesses, injuries or infections, missed doctor appointments.
- Abandonment: Left for days with others.
- Underweight, poor growth, not hitting developmental milestones.
- Frequently late or missing from school.
To get help or report abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
at (800) 4-A-CHILD/(800) 422-4453.
You can also call the Department of Social Services office where the child resides and make a report. Trained staff will assess the information to determine if it meets screening criteria for investigation. Reports can also be made to local law enforcement offices who will communicate to DSS to coordinate an investigation.