C-11 - Early Indicators and Potential Points of Intervention in Chronic Neglect   Intermediate

  Child Neglect   Research

Although the most prevalent form of maltreatment, child neglect remains an under-researched area. Chronic neglect is of particular concern, as it may represent a disproportionate burden on Child Protective Services (CPS) systems. Chronic neglect differs from single-incident neglect in terms of frequency of reports and the complexity of stressors and family dynamics. The impact of chronic neglect is not well understood, but research demonstrates negative effects on children’s mental health and socio-emotional wellbeing. The presenter will discuss the findings of a recent study that included an in-depth examination of case records to deepen understanding of early indicators, risk factors, and best practices for families and children experiencing chronic neglect. Results of this mixed-methods study indicated that for the cases in this study, the most common risk factors included the following: children dealing with emotional/behavioral issues (89%), parental substance abuse (85%), domestic violence (79%), and parental mental health concerns (76%). Almost all families (92%) in this sample had significant financial stressors and/or were living in poverty. This detailed examination of chronic neglect provides novel insights into the agency and worker practices and adds to the understanding of how CPS may best serve these families. Key implications for practice include the need for comprehensive assessment of the strengths and needs of the parents and all children within the family; more effective and consistent use of standardized risk and safety assessment tools; and better recognition of past patterns of neglect, which requires good case documentation procedures. The findings also support more cross-system collaboration to address complex contributive factors such as extreme poverty and educational neglect.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants in this workshop will have an understanding of the risk and protective factors of chronic neglect.
2. Participants will gain knowledge about the impact of chronic neglect on children, families and CPS systems.
3. Participants will explore the implications and recommendations for improved CPS practices to better assess and intervene in cases of chronic neglect.