How Do You Recognize When a Child Has Been Neglected?

Child neglect (like child abuse) is often a factor in child custody cases. It can affect the outcome of the case and which parent the court awards custody.

What is Child Neglect?

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services describes neglect as a failure to provide for a child’s basic needs for sustaining the child’s life and health. The court does not consider financial inability a form of neglect unless the parent has been offered relief services and has refused the relief.

Specific examples of neglect are failing to provide a child with sufficient food, shelter, supervision, education, affection and dental or medical care.

Physical Neglect

Failing to provide a home that is safe and clean is a form of physical neglect. Not giving the child appropriate clothes for cold or hot weather or failing to provide food is neglect. A lack of supervision is also neglect. Examples are leaving a child at home unattended or leaving a child alone in a parked car.

Emotional Neglect

Children need to receive support, love and affection. A form of emotional neglect can be exposing them to abuse. Such abuse could include spousal abuse, abuse of a pet or drug and alcohol abuse. Rejecting a child and not giving the child any love is also a form of emotional neglect.

Medical Neglect

Not taking a child to the doctor when necessary or providing dental care for a child is medical neglect. This is especially true when the child has a serious illness or physical injury. Medical neglect can apply to emergencies or long-term situations.

Educational Neglect

There are two main ways that educational neglect occurs. Failing to enroll the child in school is one way. The other is allowing extensive absence from school.

Do you have questions about how neglect might factor into your divorce or child custody suit? Our attorneys at Richardson Brown are glad to discuss your concerns.