Child neglect: Policy, response and developments in England

Marian Brandon, Alice Haynes, Julie Taylor, Dawn Hodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite headline reactions to child sexual exploitation and abuse or murdered children, child neglect continues to be one of our most pervasive and intractable child protection problems. It is the main reason why children’s social care services become involved with families. Moreover it has the largest impact on future outcomes for both children and society. In England the child protection system has evolved largely in response to high profile child protection inquiries, but remains vague on what it considers to be its cornerstone: professional judgement about when a threshold for intervention is reached and at what level. Current austerity measures and funding cuts exacerbate the problem. Nonetheless there are a number of promising initiatives and models that highlight what can be done to help neglected children and families and an emerging evidence base that illuminates those areas where most ground can be gained. The role of place and community in neglect is increasingly being seen as the new frontier for
intervention. Sustained involvement with families over the long term, interpersonal supportive yet firm interactions that keep children central are costly to deliver and are not crowd-pleasers. Nonetheless such programmes are key in making a difference for neglected children
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch, Policy and Planning
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2016


  • Neglect
  • England child protection policy
  • assessment
  • community models


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