neglected child | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Juvenile Justice

In the juvenile justice context, a neglected child is a child who has not received proper care, supervision, or support from their parent or guardian.

Neglect can take many forms, including failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or education.

Neglected children may be left unsupervised for extended periods of time, may be exposed to dangerous or unsanitary living conditions, or may be deprived of basic emotional support and affection. Neglect can have serious consequences for a child’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being and can lead to long-term developmental problems and even death in some cases.

Under the law, parents and guardians have a legal obligation to provide for the basic needs and safety of their children. When a child is found to be neglected, the juvenile justice system may intervene to ensure that the child receives proper care and support. This may involve removing the child from their home and placing them in a foster care or group home setting or providing support services to the child and their family to address the underlying issues contributing to the neglect.

The juvenile justice system is also responsible for investigating and intervening in cases of suspected neglect and taking action to protect the safety and well-being of neglected children. Neglect is often considered a form of child abuse. It may be punishable by criminal or civil penalties, depending on the neglect’s severity and the jurisdiction’s laws.

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Last Modified: 03/10/2023


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