A child is considered to be neglected when there is an ongoing failure to meet their basic emotional and physical needs. This can mean they are left cold, hungry or dirty or don’t get the love and care they need. A child can also be subject to neglect if they aren’t attending school or taken to the doctor or dentist when they need medical help.

Possible signs that a child is neglected can be different depending on how old they are, but can include them looking dirty or unhealthy, or they may seem less physically or emotionally developed than other children their age. Other things to consider might be the environment they live in – is it warm and safe, are they often left alone or are they expected to do things like cooking and cleaning that an adult would normally do?

If you think a child is in immediate danger, you should contact the police on 999 straight away. However, it can be very difficult to know what to do if you are unsure, especially if you are not certain that a child is being neglected. Parentline call-takers can help talk through your concerns and decide on an appropriate course of action to ensure the child you are worried about stays safe.

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