Possible physical indicators of child neglect

There are observable physical conditions that may be be indicative of child neglect. Child neglect consists of many factors and the observation of one or more of the above listed conditions alone may be  insufficient to make a determination of neglect. In some instances a child may have a medical condition that is not neglect related and is being properly addressed by the child’s caregiver(s).  In other cases, a child’s immediate physical condition (unkempt, poor hygiene) may be situational and not part of an on-going pattern of neglect or poor care.

  • obvious medical conditions or injuries that appear untreated
  • children that appear unusually dirty or unkempt
  • children with chronic hygiene issues
  • children that appear malnourished or underweight for their age  ( as evidenced by distended stomachs or emaciation)
  • children that are extremely obese
  • presence of lice, scabies or bedbugs
  • untreated  skin conditions

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.