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Know the signs

Neglect


Definition

Neglect is the failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect may be:

  • Physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision)
  • Medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)
  • Educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs)
  • Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs)
  • Or, more often, a combination of above.

Remember not to confuse poverty with neglect. For example, a family who lacks access to housing, utilities, food, or other necessities may be in need of information or assistance.

Also in Alaska, be aware of community standards. For example, in some communities running water or electricity is an expensive option beyond many people’s means. High cost of housing materials can result in unfinished homes or homes in disrepair. Alaska has a large, diverse population where community standards, customs, and cultural conventions can differ dramatically from one home,  town, or  village to the next.