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Child Neglect and the Family

  • By: Golan Shahar & Dana Lassri
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Child neglect, the most widespread form of childhood maltreatment, pertains to caregivers’ failure to either satisfy the child's needs or prevent harm to the child. It is classified as either mild, moderate, or severe. Neglect may be physical (failure to provide food, clothing, or shelter, despite financially capability; lack of supervision), emotional (failure to provide psychological care, chronic inattention to the child, exposure to domestic violence or drugs/alcohol), medical (failure to provide necessary medical care), educational (failure to educate, permitting chronic nonattendance, ignoring special educational needs), and exposing newborns to drugs (substance abuse during pregnancy). Because child neglect involves acts of omission (rather than commission), its signs tend to be less visible, although its detriments are vast.

Neglect occurs in a familial context of dysfunctional ...

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