A systematic review of measures of child neglect

Simon Haworth*, Jason Schaub, Elaine Kidney, Paul Montgomery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
112 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Child neglect is prevalent in children’s social work and assessing neglect is complex because it is multi-faceted and opaque. This systematic review identifies and evaluates evidence of tools or measures to better assess child neglect.

Methods: Informed by Cochrane methodology and adapted to the needs of social work practice, a systematic search and review of measures of child neglect was undertaken. Ten databases were searched, augmented by grey literature and contact with relevant experts.

Results: Only two measures, the Child Neglect Index and modifications of the Maltreatment Classification System, met the inclusion criteria. Neither tool was completely comprehensive for child neglect.

Discussion: Our findings indicate a) a dearth of suitable tools to measure neglect and b) the need for robust testing of neglect measures in the social work setting. The current evidence base on measuring child neglect is too limited to effectively inform policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Early online date27 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Systematic review
  • Child Neglect
  • Measurement
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology


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