Child neglect is a form of child maltreatment. Child neglect can be defined as a deficit in meeting a child’s basic needs. Furthermore, child neglect is the failure to provide basic physical health care, supervision, nutrition, emotional nurturing, education or safe housing.
Society generally believes there are necessary behaviors a caregiver must provide a child in order for the child to develop (physically, socially, and emotionally). It is important to note that child neglect is how a child and society perceives the parents’ behavior; it is not how the parent believes they are behaving towards their child. It is important to distinguish between parental failure to provide when options are available and when options are not available.
Poverty is often an issue and leads parents to not being able to provide. The circumstances and intentionality must be examined before defining behavior as neglectful. Child neglect is the most frequent form of abuse of children.
In 2008, the U.S. state and local child protective services received 3.3 million reports of children being abused or neglected. Seventy-one percent of the children were classified as victims of child neglect.