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Know the signs: Neglect

Signs of Neglect in Children

Signs and symptoms of neglect can be hard to detect by professionals and others outside the home. Many parents struggle with caring for their children for many different reasons. For example, poverty, job stress, grief and loss, and mental health are all issues many families struggle with. Struggle and adversity are part of many families' lives. These challenges don’t always result in neglect. Remember that the signs and symptoms of neglect are sometimes signs that a family needs information or assistance.

At the same time, be aware that children who are neglected may:

  • Always be sleepy or tired
  • Appear malnourished or to be losing weight
  • Steal food or money, or beg from classmates
  • Report that no caretaker is at home
  • Have frequent absences from school
  • Show extreme loneliness and need for affection
  • Show an obvious lack of needed medical, dental, or vision care
  • Be physically dirty and have body odor
  • Wear clothing that isn’t appropriate for the weather
  • Use alcohol or drugs.
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