Identifying and Responding to Child Neglect in Schools

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Background & Purpose Child neglect is the most complex form of child maltreatment to respond to, often because it is chronic rather than based upon specific incidents as physical or sexual abuse may be. Identifying whether the care a child is receiving is poor enough to be labelled neglect is a significant challenge for practice. This makes it difficult to ensure that the child is provided with the appropriate help, in a timely manner that will improve their situation sufficiently. The study investigates the extent of involvement of mainstream primary and secondary schools in identifying and responding to child neglect. It examines the relationships between Education and Social Services in a multi-agency environment, specifically exploring the experiences of school staff in how they respond to children and parents when there is concern that a child is being neglected. The project sits within CASCADE (Children’s Social Care and Research Development Centre) at Cardiff University and aims to understand how schools identify child neglect, and the quality and breadth of the early interventions they implement. The results of the study will inform policy and social work practice and hence improve the wellbeing of neglected children. Methods & Study Design The study comprises of two phases: (1) Analysis of a sample of Children’s Services’ case files from three Local Authorities with differing levels of social deprivation and varying rates of neglect on the Child Protection Register (n=150), (2) Qualitative school-based interviews at both a primary and secondary school in each of the three Local Authority areas (n=30). This paper focuses upon the findings from Phase (1) of the study. The case file analysis sampled up to fifty of the most recent cases in each Authority where the child’s name was placed on the Child Protection Register under the category of ‘Neglect’, the child was of school age, and a school was the referring agency to Social Services.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016
Event6th European Conference for Social Work Research - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 30 Mar 20161 Apr 2016
Conference number: 6


Conference6th European Conference for Social Work Research
Abbreviated titleESWRA

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