Neglect - Children

Key Principles of Neglect*


  1. Early indicators of neglect must be recognised if early assessment and intervention is to be achieved. Universal services should understand children’s needs, recognise the signs of neglect, know what they can do to help, and feel confident and supported in action.

  2. There must be a shared understanding of the impact of neglect on a child’s health, safety, and development; including the impact of emotional neglect. Children can recognise the signs of neglect and feel safe to tell.

  3. Early assessment and intervention will be promoted and supported where sufficient progress is seen to be possible within the child’s timescale. Where there is insufficient progress, intervention on a statutory basis will take place appropriately and without delay.

  4. Parents should feel safe to ask for help to understand their child’s needs and how to meet them and can access high quality help when they need it. Children and their families should be able to expect consistency from the practitioners they work with and the support they are offered.

  5. Partner agencies must ensure that practitioners are trained to be aware of, identify assess and deal with neglect for children who may be particularly vulnerable.

  6. Communities are supported to understand the needs of children, recognise the signs of neglect, and understand why it happens.

  7. Neglect must be understood within a context which may include other forms of abuse. It is therefore important that those in strategic roles ensure that strategies and initiatives link and complement each other. Professionals must be curious and inquisitive about circumstances and events. They should feel confident to challenge families and each other about the sustainability of any improvements required. Historical information must always be taken into consideration.

*Informed by: NSPCC Thriving Communities: A Framework for preventing and intervening early in child neglect. Haynes A, Cuthbert C, Gardner R, Telford P. and Hodson D.

Standardised Tool for Assessment & Intervention - the Graded Care Profile

Suffolk LSCB endorse the use of the Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP) to inform the assessment framework of Signs of Safety.

The Graded Care Profile is an assessment tool, initially developed by Dr Srivastava, which allows practitioners to produce an objective measure of the quality of care given to a child by looking at four key areas: physical, safety, love, and esteem, adapted from Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs (Maslow 1954).

The assessment is an evidence based assessment tool for evaluating levels of parental care.  It identifies strengths and weaknesses to capture levels of physical and emotional care, identifies strengths and weaknesses and targets aspects of neglectful care. It provides evidence that can inform care and intervention plans.

The assessment gives an objective picture of the care that the child is actually receiving and highlights how parenting support and interventions can be targeted to improve the level of care the child receives.

For more information about Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) please see below.


This helpful toolkit which has been prepared by the Department for Education highlights how anything you notice can help a child who is at risk of neglect and abuse along with the importance of reporting any concerns you may have.

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is when one parent attempts to turn the child or children against the other parent.

Anthony Douglas CBE describes this and how it happens in more detail here:

Find information on Parental Alienation on Cafcass website

BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Programme

BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Programme, operated by the Family Fund Business Service  can help to provide children with basic needs. You can apply for one grant per child to get essential household items; furniture and kitchen equipment, children’s beds and bedding, washing machines, fridges and freezers,  and baby equipment.

You can find more information:   


A revised Poverty Strategy and Action Plan are currently under consultation

Grade Care Profile 2