Neglect is defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) as "the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
You can access the Neglect Strategy and Practice Guidance for working with children and families who experience neglect here:
Neglect differs from other forms of abuse in that there is rarely a single incident or crisis that draws attention to the family. Rather, it is repeated, persistent neglectful behaviour that causes incremental damage over a period of time.
It is important to avoid 'start again' syndrome. Neglect should not only be measured by the most recent set of events but should be judged by the cumulative impact on the child of any previous incidents.
There is no set pattern of signs that indicate neglect other than that the child's basic needs are not adequately met. In this context:
- The child's basic needs are for food, shelter, clothing, warmth, safety, stimulation, protection, nurture, medical care, education, identity and play;
- Adequately means sufficient to avoid harm or the likelihood of Significant Harm;
- Failure to meet the child's needs does not necessarily mean that the parents/carers are intentionally neglectful, but it points to the need for intervention;
- It is essential to monitor the outcome of intervention - are the child's needs being adequately met after the intervention and is there a sustainable improvement?
The essential factors in demonstrating that a child is being neglected are:
- The child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, Significant Harm;
- The harm, or risk of harm, arises because of the failure of parents or carers to meet the child's needs;
- Over time, the harm or risk of harm has become worse, or has not improved to the point at which the child is consistently receiving a "good enough" standard of care;
- Persistent, severe neglect indicates a breakdown or a failure in the relationship between parent and child.
Where there are concerns about standards of care the Graded Care Profile provides a tool for assessment, planning, intervention and review.
Warrington Safeguarding Partnership introduced the use of the Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) tool in autumn 2019.
The GCP2 is a tool designed to provide an objective measure of the care of children who are, or maybe suffering from neglect. It is primarily based on the qualitative measure of the commitment shown by parents or carers in meeting their children’s developmental, emotional, physical and safety needs.
Guidance for practitioners
PPT version of guidance
Please read our learning brief of practice to shout about on the use of the GCP2 tool - WSP Learning Brief - Practice to shout about The Jan Family
Training for using the GCP2 tool
Practitioners must be trained to become licensed in order to use the GCP2 tool. This is a one day training course and training can be accessed through the Warrington Safeguarding Partnership training portal.
Visit the Warrington Safeguarding Partnership training portal
Further GCP2 information
The following documents have been provided by NSPCC in relation to the GCP2. Full information on the GCP2 tool and how to use it is provided as part of the training and is only available to licensed practitioners.
GCP2 Information sheet
GCP2 Information for young people
GCP2 Parents guide