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Neglect is 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 caregivers)
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Glossary, Working Together to Safeguard Children, DfE 2018

National and local research shows that many practitioners fail to recognise the severity or possible consequences of neglect and children are often left in neglectful situations for far longer than should be the case.

Professionals must respond to neglect with the same degree of seriousness and urgency as all other forms of child abuse. The earlier we intervene to prevent neglect the better the outcome for the child.

The Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership (SCSP) has developed a Neglect Strategy for the city to ensure the early recognition of neglect and improved responses by all agencies, so that the life chances of children are promptly improved and the risk of harm reduced. 

Sheffield Neglect Strategy:   

Neglect Training Pathway:

Neglect Training Toolkit (Single Agency):

Understanding the Lived Experience of the Neglected Child: Tools and Resources

Dental Neglect:


Adolescent Neglect:

    SCSP fact sheet:

    Other information:



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