Neglect in Theory and Practice
The Messages for Health and Social Care
Julie Taylor and Brigid Daniel
Embarking on this book we wanted to provide practitioners with some solid, evidence-based practice guidance in working effectively with children who are (or may be potentially) neglected. As a by-product we hoped that we would also be able to identify where there are gaps in our knowledge, or in current research and theory, and as a consequence be able to point to those areas where we have less confidence in our practice guidance. The chapter contributors have skilfully woven a number of arguments about this form of child maltreatment; raised numerous questions; debated a diversity of definitional issues; suggested improvements to practice; summarized current research and highlighted its gaps and limitations; proposed parallels with other health or social situations; made some stark pronouncements and at times have made some extremely disturbing statements. This should not have been a comfortable read, nor did we ever intend it to be so, as we have not yet 'got it right' in terms of our research and practice in this field. And whilst one single child is ever in need or at risk it is still one too many.
The range of topics covered, the focus of each chapter, the stylistic differences, do raise some tensions and we had an early worry that there would be stark differences of opinion or that contributors would draw different conclusions from the research. In fact, though, there is little that has been posited in opposition. Neglected children face the duality of being both in need and at risk simultaneously and every single chapter has emphasized this in a variety of ways. In this final chapter the messages from research and practice have been collated into a number of themes. We provide a summary (with pointers to