Disheartening as it is, child abuse and neglect is a rampant issues in the country. According to the CDC, 1 in 7 children experienced abuse and neglect last year. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the early warning signs of child neglect to tackle this problem at its roots. This can take more than one form and manifest as physical, emotional, educational, or medical neglect. Here are some early warning signs to watch out for:
Poor appearance and hygiene
This may include the child being smelly or dirty, hungry, not being given money for food, having unwashed clothes, having inappropriate clothing for the weather, or having frequent or untreated nappy rashes (in infants).
Health and development problems
These issues may include anemia, poor muscle tone, prominent joints, medical or dental issues, missed medical appointments, poor language or social skills, recurring infections, repeated accidental injuries caused by a lack of supervision, skin issues such as sores, rashes, flea bites, scabies or ringworm, thin or swollen tummy, tiredness, untreated injuries, and growth issues.
Housing and family issues
Some of these warning signs may include the child living in unsuitable housing conditions, such as no heating or running water, being left alone for long periods, not having a curfew or bedtime, or taking on the role of carer for other family members.
Change in behavior
Changes in behavior may manifest as showing sudden changes in behavior or school performance, becoming more clingy or aggressive, being withdrawn, having poor peer relationships or an inability to relate to children of the same age, begging or stealing food or money, depressed, or anxious, changes in eating habits, displaying obsessive behavior, difficulty in focusing, having a poor record of attendance at school, being constantly watchful (preparing for something to go wrong), or showing signs of self-harm.
Having one of the above signs does not necessarily mean the child faces neglect. However, the persistence of multiple signs over a significant period could indicate a more severe problem that may require outside intervention. One of the ways of helping children out of such neglect and giving them a chance at a thriving life is by sponsoring them. Sponsoring a child can cost as little as $1 per day and help them out of poverty and neglect.