Child Neglect

Neglect is often characterised by the failure of the parent/carer to prioritise the needs of their child or children, and the absence of a relationship of care between the parent/carer and the child. It can affect children of all ages and the impact of neglect is no less severe than other forms of abuse. Neglect can cause significant harm to children leading to poor health, education, social and life outcomes. In many cases of neglect there is a rarely a critical incident to show the extent of threat to a child’s well-being, as with physical abuse for example. The cumulative impact of neglect however can cause long-term impact for a child’s emotional, physical, social and educational development. The CSCP Child Neglect Strategy (below) gives details of the levels of neglect in Croydon.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) defines neglect as:
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.

Types of Neglect

Children can experience different forms of neglect, including PHYSICAL (e.g. food and nutrition, home conditions, hygiene etc.)   |  SAFETY (e.g. traffic, safety at home, online safety etc.)  |  EMOTIONAL CARE (e.g. responsiveness/availability  to child)  | DEVELOPMENTAL CARE (e.g. stimulation, praise or belittling etc). In Croydon we have adopted use of the Graded Care Profile2 tool to help explain and identify neglect, the categories of neglect given here are based on the GCP2.

CSCP Child Neglect Strategy  2019-2021 SEEN  |  HEARD  |  HELPED  

The Croydon Safeguarding Children Partnership’s vision is to see, hear and help  children affected by neglect at the earliest opportunity through providing the right kind of help at the right time.

The CSCP Neglect Strategy 2019-2021 has set out how we can achieve a shared approach and direction to prevent neglect and respond to neglect in order to safeguard and improve the lives of children and young people living in Croydon.

You can see the Croydon Safeguarding Children Partnership Neglect Strategy here: 

CSCP Neglect Strategy 2019 _ 2021 Final

CSCP Child Wellbeing Tool  

The CSCP Child Neglect Strategy SEEN | HEARD | HELPED – provides a shared approach and direction to preventing and responding to child neglect. Key to preventing neglect is early identification of needs.

For a child to develop well, their physical, emotional and developmental care and their safety, has to be provided for. If on an on-going basis a child doesn’t have these needs met, then the child’s immediate and long-term health, learning and emotional development may be negatively impacted. The CSCP Child Wellbeing Tool will help early identification of needs.

What is it?  –  If you have concerns about a child’s wellbeing, you’ll want to consider if the family needs support or advice. This tool is a short and simple way to clarify those concerns and identify what advice or support is needed.

When to use it?  –   This tool is best used when areas of concern have first been noticed. It can help you have a conversation with the parent/carer to explain what you’ve noticed and talk through what could help address this concern.

Who should use it?  –  Those working with children and families within community settings – nurseries, dentists, GPs, adult support workers, childminders, school staff, pharmacists, housing officers, police officers and staff, youth workers and volunteers.

A note on what is is not –  This CSCP Child wellbeing tool is not a referral* or assessment tool and should not be used instead of the Graded CareProfile2, the GCP2 must be used in cases where child neglect is known/suspected.  (*It can used be to help evidence needs in onward referrals).

(NSPCC) Graded Care Profile2 (GCP2)

The 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 GCP2 helps

  • identify parental strengths as well as areas of concern,
  • helps encourage conversations around parenting,
  • helps to develop effective planning and evidence for further interventions including PLO in neglect cases; and
  • promotes a child-centred approach especially where there are complex parental needs.

Feedback from practitioners using the tool in Croydon highlights how the tool enables conversations to engage the parents/carers, helps set expectations to target and work with, and maintains focus on the child’s needs.

  • Using the GCP2 – In order to use the GCP2, you must complete and pass the GCP2 training. For details on this go to the CSCP Safeguarding L&D page
  • If you need advice on using the GCP2 contact a GCP2 Champion – for details contact
  • For more information on the GCP2 watch this short video – click here


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