Neglected Children: Common Parent / Caregiver Behaviors

  • “bottle propping” with infants (leaving them unattended to feed themselves)
  • “use of alcohol or other drugs that impair the ability  to adequately supervise children or provide a safe and stable environment
  • engaging in or allowing illegal or dangerous activities that may endanger children
  • abandonment of children
  • absent or unavailable for supervision of children ( may be due to physical, emotional, psychological issues; illness, intoxication, etc)
  • indicators of significant mental health issues (paranoid, delusional, hallucinations, rapid disorganized speech, disorganized thinking patterns, major depression)
  • failure to provide access to education or support educational activities
  • contant negative attitudes towards  a children as evidenced by their language, tone of voice
  • caregivers that are appear oblivious or unconcerned about the whereabouts or activities of children in their care
  • caregivers that blame children for the behaviors of adults
  • Lack of supervision:

What is the  child’s age, physical condition, mental abilities, coping capacity, maturity, competence, knowledge regarding how to respond to an emergency, and feelings about being alone?

The type and degree of indirect adult supervision. For example, is there an adult who is regularly checking in on the child?  The ready availability of a responsible adult in case of emergencies?

Is the child being left alone all day, every day? Is he or she left alone all night?

What is the overall safety of the child’s environment, neighborhood, and home?


Child protection workers receive specialized training to investigate and make determinations of child maltreatment. If you observe children that you suspect are or have been neglected or abused, make a report to the appropriate humans services department or law enforcement.