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Child Neglect

Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs and the most common form of child abuse. A child might be left hungry or dirty, or without proper clothing, shelter, supervision or health care. This can put children and young people in danger. And it can also have long term effects on their physical and mental wellbeing. 

Types of Neglect

A child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing or shelter, are not met or they aren’t properly supervised or kept safe. 

A parent doesn’t ensure their child is given an education.

A child doesn’t get the nurture and stimulation they need. This could be through ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating them. 

A child isn’t given proper health care. This includes dental care and refusing or ignoring medical recommendations. 

Signs of Neglect

Neglect can be really difficult to spot. Having one of the signs doesn’t necessarily mean a child is being neglected. But if you notice multiple signs that last for a while, they might show there’s a serious problem. Children and young people who are neglected might have: 

  • being smelly or dirty 
  • being hungry or not given money for food 
  • having unwashed clothes 
  • having the wrong clothing, such as no warm clothes in winter 
  • having frequent and untreated nappy rash in infants. 
  • anaemia 
  • body issues, such as poor muscle tone or prominent joints 
  • medical or dental issues 
  • missed medical appointments, such as for vaccinations 
  • not given the correct medicines 
  • poor language or social skills 
  • regular illness or infections 
  • repeated accidental injuries, often caused by lack of supervision 
  • skin issues, such as sores, rashes, flea bites, scabies or ringworm 
  • thin or swollen tummy 
  • tiredness 
  • untreated injuries 
  • weight or growth issues. 
  • living in an unsuitable home environment, such as having no heating 
  • being left alone for a long time 
  • taking on the role of carer for other family members. 
  • becoming clingy 
  • becoming aggressive 
  • being withdrawn, depressed or anxious 
  • changes in eating habits 
  • displaying obsessive behaviour 
  • finding it hard to concentrate or take part in activities 
  • missing school 
  • showing signs of self-harm 
  • using drugs or alcohol.

Neglect Strategy 

Prevention, early recognition and management of neglect is a priority in Dudley therefore DSPP has developed the Neglect Strategy which was revised and launched in November 2022.

Graded Care Profile2 (GCP2) 

Graded Care Profile2 is an evidenced based tool developed by the NSPCC to confidently and accurately identify neglect. 

It should be used where neglect is suspected or known and is a tool that can inform your overall assessment (e.g. Child & Family Assessment, Early Help Assessment or any specialist Health Assessment). 

The grades are based on observations of the ‘here and now’ and good quality evidence gathering. The GCP2 reviews “what it is like” for the child not “why it’s happening”. The lived experience of the child. Parental issues are taken into account during the analysis and planning stage. 

The quality of care is ‘graded’ on a scale of 1 (best) to 5 (worst). GCP2 separates out different areas of parenting and the needs of the child: physical, such as quality of food, clothes and health, care of safety, safety in carers presence and when carer is absent, emotional care, such as the relationship between the carer and child and developmental care, such as if a child is encouraged to learn and if they are praised for doing something good. These areas are based on Maslow’s principals. 

  • It can be used where neglect is suspected. 
  • It’s a consistent approach to neglect. 
  • The tool can be used for children of any age. 
  • Will assist practitioners in undertaking a comprehensive and evidence-based assessment of families when neglect is known or suspected. 
  • GCP2 can only be used by trained professionals.

Watch an informative video from NSPCC around GCP2 below:


In order to use the GCP2 tool you must complete the GCP2 Training – for more information please visit the Learning Zone section of our website. 

Graded Care Profile2 Antenatal

The NSPCC have recently developed an antenatal version of GCP2 known as GCP2A to assess neglect concerns displayed by pregnant women. Dudley are embedding this into the antenatal pathway (have a look at page 36 of the neglect strategy for the flow chart)

A training offer is being developed for community midwives, health visitors, family hub practitioners and social care staff to access following the completion of GCP2A train the trainer.


Hoarding is the excessive collection & retention of any material to the point that it impedes day to day functioning. This can include:

  • Inanimate objects (commonly clothes, newspapers, books, DVDs, letters & food/packaging)
  • Animals
  • Data

Further Resources

DSPP have posters that can be downloaded below to raise awareness of Child Neglect: