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Child Neglect: Current Definitions and Models -- A Review of Child Neglect Research, 1993-1998

NCJ Number
Susan Sullivan
Date Published
84 pages
This is a review of child neglect research during the years 1993-1998.
The report summarizes research definitions and child welfare models for the prevention and treatment of child neglect. The problems identified and the solutions proposed are varied. A lack of consensus and confusion over definitional issues predominates and, as a result, the research tends to be fragmented and sometimes contradictory. Some researchers have identified eight categories of neglect: lack of physical health care, lack of medical health care, inadequate supervision, child abandonment, shelter hazards, lack of household sanitation, lack of hygiene, and lack of nutrition. What determines whether maltreatment will take place is the balance of stressors and supports. The report discusses prevention and treatment of child maltreatment and warns of disappointing results. Reviews of clinical intervention programs and federally funded demonstration projects reflect relatively poor outcomes ... and a high reoccurrence of maltreating behaviors in neglectful parents and caregivers. The report concludes that, if real improvements are to be made on behalf of children, the economic situation of young families must be addressed, in conjunction with prevention and early intervention programs that make a demonstrated, long-lasting improvement in the lives of children. Appendixes, bibliography