Neglect is a serious issue that affects millions of children each year. Children are especially vulnerable and may be unable to help themselves. Spotting the signs of neglect early can lead to an intervention that saves or at least improves a child's life. The Child Welfare Information Gateway warns that one sign of neglect alone does not necessarily indicate abuse; it does mean the situation warrants a closer examination for other signs of neglect.
Behavioral Signs of Neglect
A neglected child may exhibit a sudden shift in attitude, personality or performance in school. The child may be withdrawn or passive, appear reluctant to return to her own home or be overly apprehensive and watchful. He or she may miss a great deal of school. Stealing food, money, other children's possessions or basic necessities may also indicate child neglect.
Physical Signs of Neglect
Abused children may display physical signs of neglect. They may have medical problems that they don't receive treatment for, or be dirty and unkempt. Neglected children may wear clothes that are ragged, dirty or inappropriate for the weather.
Parental Signs of Neglect
Parents who neglect their children may be consistently absent or provide inadequate supervision. They may appear indifferent or depressed when discussing their child. Other signs of neglect to look for are drug or alcohol abuse and bizarre or erratic behavior.