The Children of Neglect: When No One Cares

The Children of Neglect: When No One Cares

The Children of Neglect: When No One Cares

The Children of Neglect: When No One Cares

Synopsis

This book contains a comprehensive review of the current state of child neglect. Included are statistics regarding incidence and lethality, definitional issues, etiological theory, history of and current policy, and current interventions. As child neglect is often linked with structural issues, the book also examines the relationship of child neglect to poverty, substance abuse and culture.

Excerpt

This book examines child neglect in families and its relevance to research, policy, and practice in the field of services to children and their families. The authors chose to explore this subject because child neglect is an over-looked area of child welfare practice. Families neglect their children almost twice as frequently as they abuse their children. The most recent figures indicated that 879,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in the year 2000. Of these 62.8% were neglected, 19.3% were physically abused, and 10.1% were sexually abused (USDSSH, 2002). The consequences of neglect to children are at least as serious as the consequences of abuse. In 2000, 1,200 children died of abuse and/or neglect. These fatalities were most often (34.9%) the result of neglect only. When including children who died as a result of abuse and neglect, 57.1% (approximately 685) of child fatalities due to maltreatment involved child neglect, as compared to 50% that involved abuse (i.e., abuse only [27.8%] and abuse and neglect [22.2%]) (USDHHS, 2002).

Nevertheless, the focus of those working in the field of child maltreatment has been on abuse, to the neglect of neglected children and their families. It is the intention of the authors to present a comprehensive view of the current state of the art regarding child neglect issues and to offer a rationale for directing focus to this overlooked and/or disregarded aspect of family relationships. It is time to refocus on these families, both to assist in healing these families and, given the relationship between neglect and poverty, as a vehicle for implementing structural changes that will benefit all families. The authors present and critically analyze major definitional, theoretical, policy, and treatment issues associated with the children of neglect. Research and cultural issues associated with definition, theory, policy, and treatment are incorporated in chapters discussing those subjects. Separate chapters regarding the relationship between child neglect and culture, substance abuse, and poverty are also included, as is a final chapter detailing conclusions and future directions.

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